Beach-front homes in New Jersey generally cost over $1,000,000. What makes these properties so valuable? Is it simply the proximity to the beach or the views that come with that proximity? Most argue it’s both. What about homes that are close to the beach but lose their view?

As we all know, Hurricane Sandy caused never before seen damage to the New Jersey coast. Countless homes were damaged or destroyed. As it should, the government is taking steps to protect residents from future storms. In several areas, this includes building massive dunes to protect from flooding. In Mantoloking, the Army Corps of Engineers is seeking easements across beachfront property to build two-foot high dunes to protect the coast. Mantoloking has hired an attorney to obtain the easements.

Affected property owners are now in a quandary. The dunes will protect their homes, but will obstruct their once pristine view of the ocean. The question then becomes what effect will this have on the value of the properties? The houses are still beachfront and have the same access and proximity to the beach. Now, however, instead of looking out onto the ocean, the houses will face a mountain of sand. This, many argue, lowers the property values.

I do not think we will know the effect on home values for a long time. While beachfront homes are valuable regardless of location, all property values are driven by the local market. Accordingly, it is going to be years before we see the true effect this will have on property values.