By Lauren Wanko
“Every year it gets progressively better as we get further away from the storm,” said Realtor Michael Van Sciver.
Empty, ocean front lots that line the Jersey Shore are attracting potential homeowners craving a view of the Atlantic.
“The market has come back very strong on the high-end ocean fronts,” Van Sciver said. “This has been the strongest first four months that we’ve had since before the storm.”
Van Sciver Realtors is the listing agent for a lot in Mantoloking.
“Probably had a value before the storm in high 4’s, lows 5’s. The storm took it totally off, there is nothing left of it,” he said.
It’s listed for just over $3.5 million, Van Sciver’s had offers.
“This is close to what the accessed value is now and what it was before the storm,” he said.
Sciver says his company’s sales — along with homes under contract — are up 15 to 20 percent compared to this time last year.
“There are a lot of rebuildings going on. A lot of property still available. I think people are starting to realize the Jersey Shore has taken the precautions to try to protect the best that we can. Whether it’s a rock revetment, steel wall or beach replenishment,” Van Sciver said.
Many of Van Sciver’s buyers already own homes along the Jersey shore and are finally getting a chance to buy waterfront.
“So what they’ve done — they’ve upgraded,” Van Sciver said. When asked how often were oceanfront homes going on the market before Hurricane Sandy, he said, “Very Seldom.”
Other homeowners don’t want to go through the process of rebuilding, so they list it instead. This property’s on the market for about $3.5 million too. The home’s still on it, but it’s uninhabitable.
“We’re seeing more and more people who want to build their own place and have the money,” said Van Sciver.
Still not every shore property is generating lots of interest.
Van Sciver says the homes that aren’t on the water aren’t selling as quickly. Sales are down 30 to 40 percent pre-Sandy because many need to be repaired and raised at a substantial cost without the appeal of being on the water.
Normandy Beach Resident Dr. Marty Jacobs is considering putting his home on the market.
“It’s very depressing with the road being done over, rebuilt and all the homes that haven’t been knocked down yet,” said Jacobs.
The Jacob’s home is across the street from the beach.
“I never thought about selling before the storm. A lot of our friends have sold, they’re selling pretty quickly for a good price,” said Jacobs.
“The prices that we’re getting for a houses are lower then pre-Sandy but every year since, the price of that house, of that person who kept that house is slowly going up and almost on certain properties at the pre-Sandy price,” said Van Sciver.
Van Sciver insists that will entice more sellers to list this summer.
“I think if anything, we’ll have more inventory and I think we’ll have bigger numbers,” Van Sciver said.