Just Released: Press Briefing on Housing Conditions and the Economic Impact of Superstorm Sandy on the Region
Jaison R. Abel, Jason Bram, and Claire Kramer
At today’s regional economic press briefing, we provided an update on housing conditions as well as an initial assessment of superstorm Sandy’s economic impact on the region.
One immediate challenge is rebuilding and recovering from Sandy. Geographically, it appears that the hardest-hit areas were the coastal communities of Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Long Island, Lower Manhattan, and the New Jersey shore. Physical damage to the region was primarily to homes and personal property, commercial property, and infrastructure. An immediate housing priority is the provision of shelter to those whose homes were severely damaged. As such, housing task forces have been formed to identify local housing needs, catalog vacant rental housing units, and investigate temporary housing options. On the business front, the focus has been on securing gap financing for firms to finance short-term cash flow while they restart their operations and await insurance settlements.
In assessing the impact of natural disasters like Sandy, it’s important to recognize that some activity that appears to be lost may in fact only be postponed or shifted elsewhere within the region. Moreover, a surge in economic activity typically follows a natural disaster as the region rebuilds much of the damaged or destroyed property and infrastructure, often with resources from outside the region, like FEMA assistance and private insurance. At the same time, welfare losses resulting from the pain and suffering of people who lost homes or loved ones, as well as inconveniences like extra time spent commuting, are often neglected when assessing the impact of natural disasters such as Sandy.
For more information on housing conditions and Sandy’s economic impact on the region, see the regional economic press briefing webpage.
The views expressed in this post are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York or the Federal Reserve System. Any errors or omissions are the responsibility of the authors.
Jaison R. Abel is a senior economist in the Research and Statistics Group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Jason Bram is a senior economist in the Research and Statistics Group.
Claire Kramer is a regional outreach manager in the Bank’s Communications Group.