Sandy and CRE – Friends or Foes?

As both families and sand continue to be moved back to their rightful home and power companies from all over the east coast and beyond desperately work all hours to restore normalcy for many, the northeast is still very much in “limbo”.  I attended a conference this past weekend at the Wilmington DoubleTree. I broke away for a moment for a cup of caffeine and to my amazement the lobby was filled to the rafters and all the way back to the sports bar with Georgia Power technicians, ready to get a short-night’s rest before a commute to Jersey the following day, which was sure to be a long one. A Facebook friend posted that they might be able to get to work, but probably would get stuck there because they didn’t have enough gas to get home. Most of the pumps are closed. While it has been a boost for labor and materials markets, even our own local Toll Brothers Developers could face increased labor costs according to Bloomberg, being that the demand is so high.

Who can forget the sight of the crane atop the One57 building, dangling like a toy 75 feet above the 57th and 6th? The AC resorts and casinos took a front row seat at the storm’s eye. There are reports of major property damage and power loss. According to the National RE Investor, every day the casinos are closed, they suffer a $5M loss, not to mention all the employees out of work.  The loss estimates are changing as often as Pippa Middleton at a book signing.  The financial and retail districts of NYC seem to be coming back in an expedited fashion. Many companies are taking a closer look at their property insurance coverage, especially that section on “business interruption”. Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities were delayed as well. 

Jersey Strong, PA Proud and New York Non-Stop are holding their own, but it will take time, man-hours and a boat-load of money. While the real estate industry as a whole has experienced an uptick in prices due to low inventory and lack of ongoing development, the short-term predictions are a an “idling”, not a put it in park and come back later and see if it starts. If all goes according to historic trends, we may see a boost 2nd quarter of 2013. I think I speak for all when I say, “Bring it on!”