Official reports for FEMA claims and Small Business Administration loans in the region will be available today, shedding light on the number of owners of first and second homes affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The divide was apparent when those who owned second homes complained of being denied FEMA coverage, even though they were National Flood Insurance policyholders, said various real estate agents.
In order to buy a home, it is sometimes required to purchase a National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, policy, especially when the mortgage is from a federally regulated or insured lender, which is often the case, according to FEMA’s website. These situations include living in a recognized flood zone, and homeowners must carry the policy for the life of the mortgage.
Real estate agents in the area have seen homeowners abandon their homes, or struggle to repair summer homes and rental properties.
“Since FEMA isn’t helping, some homeowners are walking away,” said Donna Cline, of Ferry and Farley in Ventnor.
For those in coastal New Jersey towns in this position, the only other option to salvage a second home is applying for a low-interest loan from the SBA.
The SBA makes low-interest loans, between 4 and 8 percent, to homeowners, renters and businesses of all sizes. Secondary homes used as rental property are considered businesses the same as a commercial building that rents office space, said SBA spokesperson Mary Cook.
Ventnor was one of the hardest-hit cities, which added to the burden of vacant homes. There is a growing problem of moldy, water-damaged abandoned homes, according to code enforcement officer Pam Learn.
Initially, the city was faced with problems of maintaining foreclosed homes, but with the damage from the storm, even more homes are vacant and abandoned, growing moldier as time passes, she said.
Recently, the Asbury Park Press published a list of municipalities and the number of NFIP policyholders versus the number of claims, with Toms River topping the charts.
Places like Long Beach Island Township were hit hard by the storm, but the number of claims did not reflect that, which is due to their high number of summer home properties. About 19 percent of homeowners are year-round residents of the island. Ventnor is similarly known as a rental community, with a small year-round population.
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