Hurricane Sandy Aftermath May Be Good for Homebuyers

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
By Brian O'Connell

Hurricane Sandy is barely a whisper over the North Atlantic right now, but the damage done by the storm will be felt for weeks, and maybe even months, to come.

According to the Oakland, Calif.-based economic forecasting firm Eqecat, Sandy will result in anywhere between $30 billion and $50 billion in financial damages, most of it in New York and New Jersey.

Eqecat had low-balled the financial damage to between $10 billion and $20 billion before the storm hit land, but upped its estimate after extensive structural damage was seen in New York City, the nation's financial center. There, subways and tunnels were flooded, massive power outages were widespread and businesses closed for up to five days.

Related: Hit by the Storm? Know What Your Home Insurance Covers

Down the line, Eqecat expects New York, at 34 percent, to absorb most of the financial losses from the storm, with New Jersey (30 percent) and Pennsylvania (20 percent) close behind.

There's not much of a silver lining amid the carnage wrought by Sandy, but one real estate analyst says that Sandy could be a "catalyst" for lower interest rates. That could help borrowers seeking credit, although it would hurt bank savers, who are getting grimly accustomed to lower interest rates.

That analyst is Barry Habib, chief market strategist at Residential Finance, a Columbus-based real estate service firm.

Habib cites the most recent U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, released Friday, as a harbinger of lower rates. But the rolling thunder brought by Sandy could really grease the skids, he says.

"It was a pretty good jobs report. However, when you look at the average workweek and the hours worked on a weekly level, you are seeing a decline in the amount of income," Habib says. "While a report like this would normally lead to higher interest rates and better stock prices, that isn't happening today. In fact, we are seeing the reverse, where the rates are very modestly improving and the stocks are declining. The reason is probably on the stock side, due to the fears of the impact of Hurricane Sandy, which will clearly have some negative impact on the economy, and there is some anticipation of that happening."

Related: How to Recover from Hurricane Sandy

Much of his reasoning for lower rates in the wake of Sandy is the Federal Reserve and its ongoing bond market stimulus program. Habib says any inclination to pull back on economic stimulus will go by the wayside now that Sandy has hit the East Coast.

"Part of the reason why bond prices are improving due to this news points to two things: We already know the Feds are buying mortgage bonds, which is helping [mortgage-backed security] pricing and keeping interest low," he adds. "I think you will be hard pressed to see the Feds taking their foot off the gas pedal when you see a devastating event like Hurricane Sandy creating a terrible drag on the economy."

For the housing market, that could mean good and bad news, Habib says, depending if you're a buyer or a seller.

"If I am a homebuyer or someone looking to refinance, this probably is good news for the longer term for interest rates to remain low; it also may create -- based on the psychological effects of this terrible storm -- a temporary drag on housing, which means this is a time period where people could get additional value," Habib says.

Should homebuyers dive in now and take advantage of the unfortunate aftermath of Sandy? Habib thinks so. Rates can't go much lower, and the Federal Reserve won't have a heavy boot on the stimulus gas pedal forever, he says.

For homebuyers, and for credit-needy consumers in general, Sandy may be a unique opportunity to save on a loan. That's hardly comforting to the millions of Americans who suffered from the storm, but that's how economics work.

In other words, one consumer's storm is another consumer's opportunity.

See more on The Street.com:
7 Products Better and Cheaper Than What Apple Has for the Holidays
8 Ways the Job Scammers Get You
How to Find the Perfect Checking Account
42 PHOTOS
Hurricane Sandy's Wrath, and the Aftermath
See Gallery
Hurricane Sandy Aftermath May Be Good for Homebuyers

A National Guard Humvee travels through high water Tuesday during a patrol to check the effects of Hurricane Sandy in Ocean City, Md.

This photo provided by Philadelphia's WPVI-TV shows the Inlet section of Atlantic City, N.J., as Hurricane Sandy makes it approach on Monday.

A woman is lifted into a National Guard vehicle after leaving her flooded home Tuesday at the Metropolitan Trailer Park in Moonachie, N.J.

Boats are left piled on each other in Brick, N.J., on Tuesday after Hurricane Sandy struck.

The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial sits in floodwaters in downtown Annapolis, Md., on Tuesday, after the superstorm and remnants of Hurricane Sandy passed through that city.

Ocean City municipal employees Michael Brown, left, and Enos Jones fill a truck with debris as they clean the boardwalk Tuesday after the effects of Hurricane Sandy in Ocean City, Md.

A woman rides her bicycle through a flooded street in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn on Tuesday after Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage in New York City.

This photo taken Tuesday in New York City shows what appear to be transformers exploding after much of lower Manhattan lost power during Hurricane Sandy. Much of New York was plunged into darkness Monday by a superstorm that overflowed the city's historic waterfront, flooded the financial district and subway tunnels and cut power to nearly a million people.

One World Trade Center and large portions of lower Manhattan and Hoboken, N.J., are seen without power from Jersey City, N.J., on Tuesday.

In New York City, an uprooted tree blocks 7th street near Avenue D in the East Village as a result of high winds from Hurricane Sandy on Monday.

Sailboats rock in choppy water at a dock along the New York's Hudson River Greenway during the storm on Monday.

The facade of a four-story building on New York's 14th Street and 8th Avenue collapsed onto the sidewalk on Monday.

Firefighters respond Monday at the scene of the building collapse on 14th Street and 8th Avenue in New York.

John Constantine makes his way out of his house after winds from Hurricane Sandy toppled a tree  in Andover, Mass., on Monday.

Johnny Jones watches the Indian River rise in Sussex, Del., from the longtime family home  where he and his brother, David, have spent their entire lives.

A row of houses stands in floodwaters at Grassy Sound in North Wildwood, N.J., as Hurricane Sandy pounds the East Coast on Monday.

Michael Wirtz, of Wilmington, Del., braves floodwaters and high winds that arrive with Hurricane Sandy along North Michigan Avenue in Atlantic City, N.J., on Monday.

A fallen tree rests on top of a car in the Cliffwood Beach section of Aberdeen, N.J., on Monday.

A few dozen people take refuge from Hurricane Sandy at a Red Cross shelter on Monday in Deer Park, N.Y.

A Rehoboth Beach, Del., resident watches the waves crash in Monday's storm.

Curious onlookers get a closer glimpse at rising water from the Hudson River as it overtakes a bank drive-through in Edgewater, N.J., on Monday.

Water floods Bayville Avenue in Bayville, N.Y., on Monday as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

Jake Wilkerson, 20, and Kaityln Baker, 21, both of Annapolis, Md., struggle with their umbrellas as Hurricane Sandy approaches that city on Monday.

A surfer rides a wave Monday at the Virginia Beach Fishing Pier at 15th Street in Virginia Beach, Va.

People wade and paddle down a flooded street Monday as Hurricane Sandy approaches in Lindenhurst, N.Y.

Water from the Hudson River surrounds a hotel in Edgewater, N.J., on Monday as Hurricane Sandy lashes the East Coast.

A construction crane atop a luxury high-rise dangles precariously over New York streets after collapsing in high winds from Hurricane Sandy.

A New York City firefighter and police officer look at the collapsed construction crane dangling precariously atop the luxury high-rise.

A worker clears a tree dropped by the high winds prior to landfall of Hurricane Sandy in Shrewsbury, Mass., on Monday.

A warning sign displays a directive near downtown Philadelphia ahead of Hurricane Sandy's landfall on Monday.

Lower Manhattan goes dark during hurricane Sandy on Monday, as seen from Brooklyn, N.Y.

A storm surge hits a small tree as winds from Hurricane Sandy reach Seaside Park in Bridgeport, Conn., on Monday.

As Hurricane Sandy bears down on the East Coast, Ron Croker, left, and Tim Wood, wheel a personal watercraft to a safer location in Ocean City, Md.

Trees bend in the wind and driving rain in downtown Philadelphia ahead of Hurricane Sandy's landfall on Monday.

A house is inundated by flood water as Hurricane Sandy approaches on Monday in Center Moriches, N.Y.

A couple posing for a picture get hit by a wave in Hampton, N.H., on Monday.

The storm floods streets on Monday in Hampton, N.H.

Debris and water close Virginia Dare Trail after wind and rain from Hurricane Sandy left many roads flooded and impassable in Kitty Hawk, N.C., on Monday.

A car is submerged in the Dumbo section of the Brooklyn borough of New York, as the East River overflows during Hurricane Sandy on Monday.

In this Oct. 26, 2012 photo, residents walk past tree branches and power lines felled by Hurricane Sandy in Santiago de Cuba.

of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to
calculate mortgage payments.
Find
homes for sale in your area.
Find
foreclosures in your area.
See celebrity real estate.

Follow us on Twitter at @AOLRealEstate or connect with AOL Real Estate on Facebook.
Read Full Story

Find a New Home

Buy
Rent
Value
Powered by Zillow

From Our Partners