Rockaway Real Estate Sees Post Sandy Surge

Three and a half years after Hurricane Sandy, the Rockaways are still rebuilding after the storm surge damaged many homes and businesses. Now the area's real estate market is seeing a different kind of surge. NY1's Angi Gonzalez has more on the real estate boom in the Rockaways.

A bartender at the Playland Motel in Rockaway Park, buying a place in on the peninsula was a no brainer for Mystri Clugston.

"After Sandy we started looking here, not just because the property values were low but because we wanted to be part of its regrowth," said Clugston.

Real Estate Agent Melissa Carrington says Clugston is part of an explosion in buyers moving into the area over the last 2 years.

"We started to see a lot more outside interest from artistic people, athletic people, musical people and then when the storm came everything kinda quieted down. But we noticed those people came back,” said Carrington, who works at Rockaway Properties. 

Among those people who "came back" were Clugston and her family who purchased a property in Rockaway Park earlier this year.

“It’s really hard to afford property in the other boroughs and what you are getting, you’re not getting your money’s worth," Clugston explained of her 3 year search for a home.

While Carrington says she's got a wide range of real estate available at various price points, putting down roots isn’t as easy as it was before. 

"Inventory has quickly evaporated here,"  Carrington explained.

Some homeowners said that a big selling point for them was the return and expansion of local infrastructure at places like the boardwalk.

"The boardwalk is huge I'd say because you can get on your bike and we can go all the way down here for, you know, a family dinner," said Katie Long, who moved to the Rockaways last summer.

Previously a Brooklyn resident, Long has now embraced her new home and has opened up her own mobile business in Rockaways called "Swell Life Fashion Boutique".

The boutique and small businesses like it are part of what Clugston says is making the area so desirable for a younger generation.

"We're getting more coffee shops, more juice [shops], more restaurants, more bars, people are starting to invest in Rockaway again," said Clugston.

It's development that Council Member Donovan Richards only expects to continue as he says the City of New York has committed $160 million of the latest budget to both commercial and residential real estate projects in the Rockaways.

Ferry Service between the Rockaway peninsula and Manhattan is also scheduled to launch by next summer.

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