Ocean City Housing Market on the Rise ... Literally
A home at the corner of 52nd Street and Simpson Avenue illustrates the process of elevating a home.
As thousands of property owners consider elevating their homes after Superstorm Sandy and ahead of federal flood insurance premium increases, Ocean City is beginning to see the first examples of houses on the rise.
One dramatic illustration can be found at the corner of E. 52nd Street and Simpson Avenue in the Ocean City Homes neighborhood.
Adrian Johnson, a representative of SJ Hauck House Movers of Egg Harbor Township, the contractor for the job, offers a quick summary of the process:
- Steel I-beams are run through the crawlspace below the first floor.
- Four to nine hydraulic jacks lift the home 17 inches at a time.
- The home is temporarily supported by a "jenga block" assembly of railroad ties. (See photos above.)
- Using rollers, the contractor will then slide the home toward the sidewalk to allow some pilings (helical piles) to be screwed into the ground.
- The home will then need to be moved to a different edge of the property to allow more pilings to be placed.
- The home ultimately will rest on pilings with its first floor at a higher elevation. Exterior "breakaway" walls can be constructed to grade level to hide the exposed pilings.
Johnson said the entire job — including pile driving — might typically cost in the $20,000 to $40,000 range, depending on the size of the home, the complexity of the job and the room they have to work with.
The home at 52nd Street is part of a "V Zone" on the new Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) map that requires an elevation of 11 feet on the NAVD88 scale.
The elevation of shore homes has become a hot topic as the National Flood Insurance Program has signaled that it will raise premiums dramatically for homes that do not comply with new elevation guidelines. The program is trying to become self-sustaining after falling deep into debt following Hurricane Katrina and other flood disasters.
But neither the final flood elevation map nor the final flood insurance premiums has been determined, so city officials and insurance agents are advising homeowners who don't need to rebuild immediately that a "wait-and-see approach" is most prudent.