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Rockaways property values plunge in Sandy’s wake

Residents of the Rockaways are facing another big blow: Hurricane Sandy has slammed their property values.

The average price of a home in the storm-wrecked area fell by 30% to $348,095 in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared with the previous year, according to brokerage firm Douglas Elliman.

As closings were delayed by the superstorm and as buyers pulled out of deals, closings fell by more than 60% to 31, the lowest level in nearly six years.

Before Sandy hit, the Rockaways had been enjoying a rebound, with prices rising steadily, year-over-year, for four straight quarters.

“This is clearly a setback,” Jonathan Miller, CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel, which compiles reports for Douglas Elliman, told the Daily News.

“I think we will see the Rockaways lag for the next couple years as homes are rebuilt.”

Robin Shapiro, the owner of Robin Shapiro Realty in Rockaway Beach, said several houses closed at reduced prices because they were severely damaged and were sold as-is.

“There are a few brokers in the neighborhood who are looking for a quick buck,” Shapiro told the News. But Shapiro said the recent price declines are a temporary setback.

“I believe a lot of the houses will be fixed up and will look better than before. The long-term prognosis is good. We’re a beach community, go find another one,” she said.

“Hopefully when they rebuild our seawalls, they will do it properly and protect us.”

While prices fell in the Rockaways in the fourth quarter, overall Queens saw median home prices rise nearly 14% to $390,000, according to Douglas Elliman.

The same was true for Brooklyn, where the median price of a home rose nearly 13% to $512,500. Both boroughs are low on inventory, which is pushing up prices.