With Hurricane Sandy closely in our rear view mirror we are left with continued clean up caused by record-breaking winds and a storm surge that changed the landscape of many coastal communities. As a real estate professional focusing on the Waterfront Communities in the region, I must pause and think of the short and long-term affects that this storm will have on the market.
The short-term is ear marked by the clean-up of downed trees, submerged roads, newly created sand dunes, and catastrophic structural damage to homes located in low- lying areas not fortified by seawalls. It is rumored that FEMA may in fact redraw the maps that have defined the communities since 1938. Time will tell.
Lending has slowed dramatically as banks want to make sure that the real estate in which they are investing is structurally sound and has not been compromised by the storm. In most cases, an appraiser is being asked to visit the property once again and report their findings. Only 18% of the homes scheduled to sell have made it to the closing table since this catastrophic event occurred. Don’t be alarmed as this is simply caused by a limited supply of appraisers and a bottle neck in the chain. This too will pass.
Flood insurance will remain a constant when dealing with waterfront homes and most likely rates will increase.
The long-term desire to own in a waterfront community will not diminish as the lifestyle provided is worth more than the exposure. I do believe however that there will be a paradigm shift in the types of properties that are sold and the demand for them. People are now more cognoscente of the risks involved and will give preferential treatment to waterfront properties that provide lifestyle but also mitigate much of the risk.
14 Skiff Lane on Masons Island is an ideal example of a property that offers the best of both worlds. It is South Westerly facing with a deep water dock capable of supporting a 32 foot boat with direct access to the Fishers Island Sound. This property was virtually unscathed by Hurricane Sandy and Irene due to a few noteworthy factors. The record-breaking storm surge of 6-11 feet never reached the foundation as it is securely positioned 15 feet above the Mean high tide line. As you can see from the photo, this home is protected by its natural surroundings of Poggy Bay.
I almost forgot….this property is currently on the market.