The dock that Kate Koplinka grew up crabbing off of in Mastic Beach, Long Island, New York, vanished beneath the wind and flood waters of Hurricane Sandy this week. Yet Koplinka, ABR, vice president and associate broker of Coldwell Banker M&D Good Life in Moriches, New York, feels lucky. The devastation could have been worse—as it was for too many others, she says. Koplinka’s area of Suffolk County along eastern Long Island has 100-year-old trees strewn over electrical lines. Additionally, all major bridges, tunnels, and public transportation systems are closed, and school hasn’t been in session since last week.
Hurricane Sandy surged across the East Coast Monday and Tuesday, bringing with it rain and 75-90 mph wind gusts, causing devastating damage and flooding from Virginia to Massachusetts. At least 32 people have lost their lives, many are still missing, and numerous residents have lost their homes, continuing to take shelter in local schools and community centers.
An early assessment released Tuesday from economic analysis firm IHS, estimates economic loss between $30 billion and $50 billion for the region, including infrastructure damage, oil production loss, shipping and distribution delays, and various other commercial product shutdowns. On Monday, research firm CoreLogic estimated that 284,000 properties valued at $88 billion were at risk of damage or destruction from the superstorm. New York had the highest number of properties at risk with just over 81,000 valued at $35.1 billion, followed by 75,000 properties in New Jersey totaling $22.6 billion.
The REALTORS® Relief Foundation is currently accepting donations to provide housing-related assistance to victims of the disaster. The foundation is working with state associations in the affected areas to distribute the funds to those in the REALTOR® family and the community at-large. All of the money donated goes directly to help those in need; NAR covers all administrative costs associated with the 11-year-old program. Make a donation today.
“We were at an open restaurant yesterday and an older man was sitting alone, his apartment was flooded and he had nowhere else to go,” Koplinka said. The man, who lived in Rocky Point, New York, said all of the hotels were full and the shelters were allegedly turning people away. To make matters worse, 85 percent of Long Island is currently without power, she said, and the drinking water in Nassau County in western Long Island is off limits. Continue reading »
By Wendy Cole, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Health care reform is on the way. And with 28% of REALTORS® currently uninsured, the time is ripe for a major fix. President Obama has put insurance reform at the top of his legislative agenda, and heated debates in Congress are sure to follow. But what will reform look like and who will pay for it? Most Americans — and REALTORS® — agree that the current system demands an overhaul. Real estate practitioners. however, are much more divided about what the federal government’s role should be in developing a new system that makes insurance available and affordable for all.
A recent poll sponsored by NAR has found that 53% of REALTORS® are concerned that Congress won’t do enough to reform the health care system, while 47% shared the opposite concern: that Congress may go too far. The pros and cons of government-mandated health insurance were the subject of rich debate today during NAR’s Midyear Legislative Meetings.
What’s your view? How should the government address the insurance gap?