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By John R. Merlino Jr. Esq.
Founding Attorney

Q: Is it safe to buy a home on the flood-prone coasts of the New York City area?

When most people think of buying real estate in New York City, they may think of the “concrete jungle” setting of Manhattan—high up in skyscrapers where it’s dry and the idea of your home being flooded in a hurricane doesn’t even cross one’s mind.

Of course, Staten Island real estate and homes in the other boroughs of New York City offer more suburban charm with smaller houses and apartment buildings, plus the convenience of close proximity to the work and social perks of Manhattan. But what people don’t often think of is the number of homes along the 520 miles of waterfront in New York City in flood-prone areas.

How do I know what areas of New York City are prone to flooding?

New York City has a “Flood Hazard Map” which flags areas that are considered “high risk” for flooding. Some of the neighborhoods include the areas of:

  • Coney Island oceanfront
  • Canarsie
  • The Rockaways
  • Staten Island’s eastern shore
  • Manhattan’s East Village
  • Manhattan’s Upper East Side
  • Long Island City
  • Greenpoint
  • South Bronx

Buying a home in the waterfront areas along nearby Long Island’s north and south shores may also pose flood risks. Some flood-prone coastal areas are without flood insurance protection.

After Sandy hit the area and countless people lost their homes, many reconsidered remaining in coastal areas while others took the chance on buying property in “high risk” places like Red Hook Brooklyn, Far Rockaway, and Staten Island—with mixed results.

One contractor built a taller house without a basement in the New Dorp Beach area of Staten Island that’s a reportedly hurricane-proof fortress with a roof deck and a beautiful view. Another couple hinted at being duped into buying a post-Sandy home in Far Rockaway that was not raised after the storm and has lingering mold issues. When buying real estate in flood-prone areas, it is particularly important to be more vigilant during the in-home investigation before buying to increase the likelihood of being happy with your decision.

Contact Melino & Gonzalez to Schedule a Consultation

If you are buying or selling a home in New York or New Jersey, the real estate attorneys at Merlino & Gonzalez can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

From our offices in Staten Island, New York and East Brunswick, New Jersey, we represent clients in both states in all aspects of real estate law.

About the Author
John is a fierce advocate and the office guru for problem-solving and brainstorming. He guides clients through every stage of a real estate transaction from offer to contract, navigating through nerve-shattering home inspection and title clearance concerns, maintaining constant contact with lenders, conducting the actual closing, and continuing to advise clients with regard to any post-closing concerns.  John brings a practical and fair-minded approach to the process which has earned him the respect of his clients and peers.