A colleague of mine likes to say if you can see the water from your home, the water can see you.
It is a fact of life nearly 100 Long Island homeowners no longer wanted to deal with after Superstorm Sandy struck in October 2012. Single-family homeowners meeting this criterion sold their residences to the Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HTFC) of New York State, as part of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery’s (GOSR) New York Rising Housing Recovery Program. New York State acquired 150 properties in Nassau and Suffolk through this initiative. All of them are situated in waterfront communities.
But New York State had no interest in owning—for an extended period of time—these specific pieces of land. This policy decision explains why Paramount Realty USA was retained by the state to auction off the HTFC properties—81 in Nassau and 69 in Suffolk—on Tuesday, May 19 and Wednesday, May 20 at the Hyatt Regency Long Island located at 1717 Motor Pkwy. in Hauppauge. A complete listing of the properties being auctioned off, and the dates and times prospective buyers can visit them this month, can be found at www.prusa.com. The impacted Nassau communities and the number of parcels Paramount Realty USA is auctioning off in each one, include: Baldwin (seven properties), Bellmore (two), East Rockaway (nine), Freeport (15), Inwood (one), Island Park (17), Lawrence (one), Long Beach (11), Massapequa (11), Oceanside (two) and Seaford (five).
“We are pleased to be working with the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery, which Governor Cuomo established in 2013 to address disaster recovery and rebuilding efforts in areas impacted by storms such as Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee,” wrote Misha Haghani, Esq., cofounder and principal of Paramount Realty USA, in his online welcome letter to prospective bidders.
Contractors have, by most accounts, shown the most interest in the auction, given they have the expertise and resources to refurbish, rebuild or elevate the homes, as circumstances warrant. They may also believe a big pay day awaits them after either repairing or rebuilding a home in a coastal neighborhood. The big selling point, of course, is that a few properties that had a pre-Sandy market value of around $500,000 are being listed with minimum bids of $150,000. One of the running themes throughout the online brochure is that, whatever the residence’s market value was on Oct. 28, 2012, the day before Sandy made landfall, it has since then dropped.
A handful of the 150 Long Island properties being auctioned off are empty, although the overwhelming majority of the lots still have houses on them. Bidders looking to do more extensive due diligence prior to May 19 and 20 can purchase access to surveys, titles and environmental reports, take part in open houses and register in advance for the auction by submitting a completed bidder’s affidavit. A cashier’s check of at least $25,000, made payable to the HTFC’s law firm (the firm’s name has not as yet been disclosed publicly), must be given to Paramount Realty USA on the day of the auction, if they’re deemed the successful bidder on a specific property. Each transaction is expected to close within 45 days. All sales are also subject to a six percent buyer’s premium, a common fee a bidder incorporates into his or her bid offer at an auction like this.
Is there a sizable demand for some of Nassau’s most precariously situated South Shore residential properties? Everyone is about to find out.
Mike Barry, vice president of media relations for an insurance industry trade group, has worked in government and journalism.