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South Shore Nassau home prices reaching new highs, report shows

Kate Reilly with her children, Brendan and Emma,

Kate Reilly with her children, Brendan and Emma, at home in Long Beach, Wednesday Oct. 25, 2017. She and her husband had to rebuild after superstorm Sandy. Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

With newly rebuilt, elevated houses rising along Nassau County’s South Shore five years after superstorm Sandy, home values are reaching new highs and outpacing price growth across Long Island as a whole.

Homes sold for a median price of $474,000 in the July-through-September period, up 8 percent compared with a year before on Nassau’s South Shore, a report released Thursday by the brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate and appraisal company Miller Samuel shows.

That’s 21.5 percent higher than five years ago, right before Sandy flooded thousands of homes, knocked out power and blocked roads with fallen trees.

By contrast, the median price for homes across Long Island — excluding the East End — was $425,000 in the third quarter, up 4.9 percent from a year earlier and 16.4 percent from five years ago.

In the Hamptons, the median price increased by 7.9 percent year-over-year, to $890,000. North Fork home prices increased by 6.8 percent annually, to a median of $550,000.

The scene on the South Shore in Nassau marks a dramatic change from the immediate aftermath of the Oct. 29, 2012, storm.

“Long Beach is hotter than hot,” said Joyce Coletti, a Douglas Elliman real estate agent in that city. “Everybody forgot all about Sandy. They don’t even talk about it.”

The price increases are due, in part, to the fact that many owners of Sandy-damaged homes rebuilt them bigger, better and higher than before, said Jonathan Miller, chief executive of Manhattan-based Miller Samuel.

“The homes are not just being elevated, but they’re also being improved,” he said.

That’s the case for Ed and Kate Reilly’s home in Long Beach. The couple, both 34, had to demolish their bungalow after Sandy “pretty much destroyed” it, said Ed Reilly, a financial planner in Garden City. Now they’ve rebuilt it with two stories of living space over a two-car garage. They listed the three-bedroom home on a double lot this week with Coletti for $799,000.

“I think we have a showing almost every day this week, so I think it’s had a good response,” Reilly said.

Even so, the news is not so encouraging for all homeowners on Nassau’s South Shore, Miller cautioned. “You still have homes that have not been repaired, so there are still lagging issues with remediation,” he said.

What’s more, any homes with costly flood insurance premiums — such as street-level homes in high-risk flood zones — will take a price hit, real estate agents said.

“You have to adjust the price of the home to reflect any additional costs,” such as flood insurance and taxes, said Scott Wallace, a real estate agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty in Rockville Centre and Garden City.

But even homes that have not been elevated are selling, Coletti said. “I’m getting offers on things I don’t even think are going to sell,” she said.

On Nassau’s South Shore and elsewhere on Long Island, home prices getting a boost from a shortage of homes for sale, and from interest rates that are low by historic standards but rising, real estate agents said.

The average mortgage rate was 3.88 percent last week, up 0.36 percentage point from a year earlier, mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported.

“The fear of interest rates rising is getting people off the fence,” Wallace said.

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