Real LI

Buying and selling real estate in the communities of Long Island


LI rental market tightening, brokers say

A day after the home at 1730 Charlson

A day after the home at 1730 Charlson Ct. in Merrick was listed for rent, listing broker Mary Faulkner of Douglas Elliman Real Estate said she had already received more than 50 calls about the property. (Credit: MLSLI)

Long Islanders scrambling for housing alternatives because their own homes were damaged in superstorm Sandy have descended upon the rental market and placed great strain on what little short-term inventory exists, real estate agents are saying.

That’s part of the reason Real LI has launched a “Rentals of the Day” feature that showcases relatively affordable properties available for short-term lease in Suffolk and Nassau counties. We figured the posts might offer hope to those discouraged by the process, or another idea for those seriously scouring the market. (See Newsday's tips for finding short-term housing here).

But we’re beginning to feel the effects of the inventory shortage firsthand. It’s becoming more challenging just to find a single rental in each county suitable for the daily post.

Monday, for example, Real LI went through countless month-to-month rentals the  Multiple Listing Service of Long Island ( before finally landing on a Nassau property  that a listing broker could confirm was standing and still available.

There was a $1,450 per month one-bedroom co-op in Lynbrook on, we intended to feature that had just been leased early Monday. Meanwhile, a three-bedroom ranch-style house on Charlson Court in Merrick, listed on MLS for $2,000 per month, was scooped up by the first person who was shown the property, says Douglas Elliman Real Estate’s Mary Faulkner.

“I listed Charlson Court [Sunday], and have had over 50 calls about it so far,” Faulkner told Real LI in an email Monday. “So many single-family homes were damaged and deemed uninhabitable in Oceanside, East Rockaway, Point Lookout, Lindenhurst, Seaford, Bellmore, Merrick, Massapequa, Freeport and other South Shore communities.”

And many of those South Shore residents are hesitant to expand their rental search to the North Shore, putting an even greater strain on what little inventory exists. Patricia Farnell, a Douglas Elliman broker whose Glen Cove listing eventually was featured Tuesday, told Real LI of a teacher in Long Beach who was desperately seeking a rental but ultimately balked at the Glen Cove property because of the difficult commute.

(The one relief for this shortage, Faulkner said, comes from prospective home sellers who have opened their property to renters because of the dire circumstances.)

Finally, there’s the entirely separate issue plaguing the market of real estate firms still in disarray from the storm. We inquired about a Freeport rental with listing agent Kelly Pritchard, of Sparaco-Lieberman Realty, and she said she had no idea what the status of her listings were after Sandy. That’s because her firm’s offices, on Guy Lombardo Avenue in Freeport, were so damaged by the storm that agents haven’t returned to their desks since late October.

So if you’re holding out hope for the perfect short-term solution -- especially in Nassau -- it might be time to ditch those dreams and settle for a suitable option that you know is available. Because, as Real LI experienced, affordable options are in high demand and short supply.

Photo: The rental on Charlson Court in Merrick.

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