Hurricane Sandy’s Impact on the Real Estate Market

Hurricane_Sandy_Union_BeachHurricane Sandy’s immediate impact on real estate in the hardest hit Northeastern neighborhoods is already painfully evident, from New Jersey shore houses completely swept away by the sea to entire neighborhoods like Queens’ Breezy Point tragically leveled to the ground. But this latest natural disaster won’t just affect certain ZIP codes, it will weigh on America’s housing market as a whole.

In many parts of the country housing has welcomed a nascent recovery. Nationally, home sales have been notably higher this year as compared to last. In September, existing home sales were up 11% year-over-year and pending sales up 14.5%, according to the National Association of Realtors. Prices have risen too, with the national median sales price $183,900, or about 11% higher than September of 2011.  Inventory has fallen drastically in many parts of the country, fueling the uptick in prices. The rising numbers have helped housing become a bright spot in recent economic reports, with analysts projecting that residential investment will positively contribute to gross domestic product this year for the first time since 2005.

Now that rosy recovery will dampen. “This will certainly create a negative in the short term,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors. “The bottom line is we clearly anticipate a slowdown, but it will be temporary.”