From the Star Ledger:
That house for sale on River Road might be viewed a little differently now by prospective homebuyers.
Add to that the storm damages some listed properties suffered in Hurricane Irene and the autumn real estate market in some parts of the state is looking a little shaky.
“Right now, this is fresh in (the buyers’) mind,” said Joanne Liscovitz, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Hillsborough. “This is going to take a while for it to go away — that feeling of, ‘Well, I don’t want to put myself in that situation.’”
Earlier this week, Liscovitz took one property — a three-bedroom house in Manville that was up for a short sale — off the market so its owner could fix flood damage. After Hurricane Floyd in 1999, the owner redid the kitchen and floors, but with Irene, water was up through the basement and into the living areas once again.
It was most recently listed for $189,000, but as soon as buyers see its proximity to a bridge, they tend to waver.
“You can only ask so much money for a house in a flood zone versus not in a flood zone, and there’s a lot of work involved and a lot of inconvenience when you’re the owner,” Liscovitz said.
“Buyers are scared as it is,” she added.
The housing market may be affected more in towns that were affected most by Irene, like like Manville, Fairfield, Wayne, Paterson and Bound Brook.
“Since we’ve had all these floods this year, the flood zone properties have been (hit) very, very hard,” said Joe Palermo, owner of Re/Max Tri-County Realty in Wayne. “There are very few of them actually selling.”
The storm will have other ramifactions as well. Owners will take their damaged houses off the market for repairs and it could be a while before the properties are ready to show. New kitchens or floors will be one perk for new buyers, but the fact remains — the house is in a flood zone. With Irene fresh on their minds, few buyers are willing to gamble on these kinds of houses, no matter the price.
“Trying to sell a home that’s in a flood plain is challenging at any time,” said Gary Large, branch manager of Prudential New Jersey Properties in Morristown and president-elect of the New Jersey Association of Realtors. “But when you’re coming off a storm (like Irene), obviously buyers are going to be gun-shy.”