It's just past six months since Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast, leaving large swaths of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions behind in various degrees of devastation. While life has returned to normal in many areas, some of the hardest hit places—mainly coastal communities in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut—have yet to see any rebuilding as home and business owners battle with insurance companies for higher payouts and urban planners and engineers consider how to rebuild communities.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal gives an assessment of where things stand in the New York City and Northern New Jersey regions. The Queens neighborhood of Breezy Point, which lost 126 homes from the storm and an ensuing fire, is going through a complete reconstruction that includes rethinking the way new homes should be built.
Meanwhile, a piece in The Atlantic Cities revealed that insurers have so far paid out $18.8 billion in claims. That may not be enough, however, as policy holders are complaining that the payouts are below what they were guaranteed. The government is stepping in to help with about $800 million worth of loans.
Building codes and practices have not been forgotten in this, as builders—in both affected regions and around the country—are discussing new ways to design and build homes to make them safe from natural disasters. Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Ellen Podmolik writes about builders and realtors in the Chicago-area who are having such a discussion right now.
Finally, Hurricane Sandy appears to have had an impact on the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the fourth quarter of 2012, according to a blog post by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. While it’s impossible to determine just how large of an impact, GDP for the quarter increased at a somewhat sluggish 0.4%, well below the 3.1% recorded during the third quarter. Data within the blog post also shows that the storm was not as GDP deviating as past storms such as Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina. Hurricane Sandy actually proved to be moderate when compared to many of the Hurricanes that have hit the U.S. over the past few decades.