The last major auction of properties damaged by Sandy and other storms drew a lively crowd of more than 200 people yesterday and generated nearly $17.1 million in winning bids to fund storm recovery measures.
The state’s New York Rising Acquisition Program sold off 32 properties — mostly single-family homes — on Long Island, 54 in New York City and three upstate to new owners who will be required to rebuild and elevate them. The state paid $30.5 million to purchase the wrecked buildings from their previous owners.
“The goal, as always, is to help communities heal, get the properties back on the tax rolls and expand the supply of resilient housing,” Lisa Bova-Hiatt, executive director of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, said in a statement.
For the Long Island homes, the winning bids ranged from $78,000 for each of two properties in Island Park, to $550,000 for a waterfront home in Babylon that had been valued at $840,000 before the storm. The only higher bid at the auction was $575,000 for a home in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn.
“At the outset, people were paying far too much,” said Scott Kiley of Hempstead, a real estate investor who picked up two properties — one in Long Beach for a winning bid of $82,500 and another in Amityville for $127,000. Some of the less experienced bidders, he said, “think they’re getting a good deal, without realizing how much work has to go into it . . . Most people don’t realize it’s going to cost $60,000 to $100,000 to raise it the right way, and your rehab after that can range from $30,000 to $250,000.”
In an early round of the bidding at the Hilton New York JFK Airport, a waterfront Massapequa home with a pre-storm value of $825,000 went for a winning bid of $420,000. As the auction proceeded, a waterfront Oceanside home went for a bid of $285,000; it had been valued at $585,000 before it suffered storm damage.
Some of the properties were “deals,” but in other cases bidders were acting on “emotion” rather than financial considerations, said Ben Jackson, a Free port-based contractor who agreed to pay $140,000 for vacant land in Freeport, near Baldwin Bay. The property was valued at $400,000 before Sandy wrecked the house on it in 2012. “I probably could have gotten it for less — but there was emotion there for me, too,” he said.
Jackson said the previous owner hired him to demolish the house in 2014. Part of the knockdown was filmed for a movie called “Demolition,” starring Jake Gyllenhaal, and Jackson said he can be seen in the background about halfway through the movie. “If you blink your eyes, you miss it,” he joked. “I was running a Bobcat, destroying it.”
In three previous auctions in the last two years, the state has sold 384 homes, generating $58.3 million for storm recovery work, officials said. The acquisition program was established in 2013 to buy properties and resell them to new owners who are required to rebuild and elevate them.
The Long Island properties included in the auction had pre-storm values ranging from $250,000 to $1 million. Minimum bids ranged from $58,500 to $353,600.