Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Long Island has been hit hard in the past few months by first Hurricane Sandy and now "Massive Snowstorm" (a seemingly brand new classification) Nemo. Thankfully, Nemo had little of the widespread effects that came with Hurricane Sandy, outside of some 200 cars being stranded along various roads in Suffolk County and, of course, power outages in pockets of the Island. Nassau County suffered what was merely a fairly significant snow storm. But, there was record snowfall in Suffolk County, which wouldn't necessarily be a big deal in a world that's become accustomed to the clear effects of global warming. But, like a bad breakup in the wake of a divorce, Nemo can't help but have some effect on the already delicate psyche of post-Sandy Long Island.
So what does it all mean for the housing market? Are the psychological ramifications of a second record breaking storm in a matter of months so deleterious as to set the housing market even further back. The short answer: probably not. Damage is what really impacts home sales. Sellers can't or won't sell damaged homes because they can't find the proper value for them and buyers are certainly not chomping at the bit to inhabit a storm-ravaged piece of real estate. Sandy, of course, did significant damage, but all indications are the Nemo didn't have the same kind of impact. There is, of course, no way, to quantify the psychological implications of the two storms on the real estate market, but Long Island remains a desirable place to live irrrespective of what are - in all likelihood - two outlier storms. Quality of property remains key. And on that front, the Long Island housing market may not be that far away from a boom.
After Sandy, a piece in Forbes magazine opined that home sales would momentarily pause (as they did) for people to make repairs, renovations and the like, and most importantly, wait for the insurance checks to come in. But, as Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the Natonal Association of Realtors noted, there is the potential for the market to surge to levels even higher than that of the pre-storm market once insurance kicks in. More than 3 months removed from Hurricane Sandy, insurance money has started to flood in, homes are being repaired (in some cases to states superior than they were before the storm) and the market is probably ripe for a boom. In fact, that vulnerable houses were able to withstand a second storm should only bolster confidence in the housing market. As winter turns to spring, we may be looking at a robust real estate market. Available, upgraded houses in solid communities are the perfect tonic for a fragile buyer/seller psyche. And once the upswing begins, Sandy and to a lesser extent that pesky fish Nemo, will be mostly in the rearview mirror of the Long Island real estate market. As long as we continue to mind the blind spot.