In wake of Sandy, L.B. home sales rebound

Real estate executives say market is strengthening after the storm


Local real estate executives say that the Long Beach market is bouncing back 17 months after Hurricane Sandy created a sense of uncertainty and led to a sharp drop in home sales.

Though the median home value in Long Beach has declined by .8 percent over the past year, from $449,000 to $445,000, according to the online real estate information company Zillow Inc., the company predicts that it will rise .5 percent in the next year.

“The values are starting to come up here again, and we’re very busy and extremely optimistic,” said Renee Weinberg of Petrey Real Estate on East Park Avenue. “And I’m seeing bidding wars. There is so much going on here, and people still don’t want to travel two or three hours to go to the Hamptons.”

According to Douglas Elliman Real Estate’s “Elliman Report,” a quarterly survey of residential sales, in the fourth quarter of 2013, the number of sales on Long Island surged 31.8 percent over the same period last year, to 5,982, a seven-year high.

The number of fourth-quarter sales on the South Shore, according to the report, also rebounded from Sandy’s lows, jumping 48.5 percent over last year, to 845. The report stated that the Long Island market “seemingly rebounded from the weak Sandy-related sales activity last year, along with the late-year rush of ‘fence-sitters’ entering the market before mortgage rates moved higher.”

“I think we’re on a really good track,” said Tom Tripodi, owner of Long Beach-based Tripodi Group of Douglas Elliman. “We’re about a year behind everybody else — the real estate market in Long Beach is in a little bit of a vacuum (and that’s everywhere south of Sunrise Highway) — but we’re catching up really quick, and our first quarter was like a typical spring market. We just had an outstanding January, February and March. People are coming out in droves because of the interest rates.”

Last year, Tripodi said, his office closed on 94 homes, condominiums and co-ops on the barrier island and in Island Park. He has already sold 31 this year, he added, and is on track to sell more than 120.

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