Waterfront Real Estate Market Still Struggling After Sandy | NBC Connecticut

Waterfront Real Estate Market Still Struggling After Sandy



    (Published Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013)

    The real estate market along Connecticut's shoreline took a big hit after Super Storm Sandy rolled through a year ago.  Now, experts say it's starting to pick up, even though there's a long way to go.

    Along the shoreline in Fairfield, there are now plenty of "For Sale" signs and construction sites, lingering reminders of the devastation left by Sandy.

    "People will come back and they have been coming back," said Cathy Carrano, a realtor based in Fairfield.

    Carrano says the waterfront market remains slower than pre-Sandy days, when prices were higher and bidding wars were common. 

    Those who can afford to are building up to new federal standards. Others are selling to developers for big losses.

    "Buyers have been concerned about coming back. They're concerned about getting flood insurance, getting insurance in general. They worry is another storm going to happen?" said Carrano.

    The waterfront market is similar in East Haven, where homes along Cosey Beach Avenue took a beating from both Super Storm Sandy and Tropical Storm Irene the year before.

    "We are seeing consumer confidence build up, not quite what it used to be," said Michael Barbaro, who is a real estate developer and broker in the New Haven area and is also with the Connecticut Association of Realtors.

    Barbaro bought two lots on Cosey Beach Avenue before Sandy hit and built houses on the lots after the storm. He expects to sell them for much less than if Sandy never rolled through.

    Waterfront homeowners are also dealing with other hurdles, including changes to the National Flood Insurance Program which some experts say could make it unaffordable for longtime residents to stay or new buyers to come in.

    Under the new regulations, properties that aren't build up to new standards are no longer grandfathered.  Those owners will see federal flood insurance subsidies phased out and premiums skyrocket over the next five years.

    "I think you are going to see a time when people are going to be forced from their homes because they won't be able to afford flood insurance," said Barbaro.  "What I'm seeing in a listing, in a description of a property, as opposed to 'Beautifully Remodeled Kitchen,' or 'New Roof,' I'm seeing 'No Flood Insurance Required' and when that becomes a selling point I think we're in for a rough ride."

    As shoreline areas struggle to move on after Sandy, many hurdles remain in a real estate market some fear will never be the same.