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Rebuilding the Jersey Shore, One Home at a Time

Appliances were also in high demand; most homes that took on water had to throw out all of their downstairs appliances. During the tear-out phase, it was an endless sea of washers and dryers, dishwashers, stoves and refrigerators strewn across front yards. Once rebuilding is complete, there are a lot of appliances to be replaced; which will again bode well for the retailers; Home Depot, Lowe's, Sears (S) and Best Buy (BBBY) to name a handful; not to mention manufacturers such as Whirlpool (WHR). With a lot of kitchens also in need of replacement, Masco (MAS - Get Report) whose products include Kraftmaid cabinets, should also be seeing a lot of business in the Northeast.

The refurbishment of homes is just the beginning, at least on our little island, and I'd suspect for much of the Jersey Shore. Given the extent of the damage, many homes, including ours, will be required to be raised above base flood elevation levels.

In a nutshell, if the damage to your home was more than 50% of the value (the replacement cost new, per the tax assessor, which is typically a very low amount as it does not include the land value), the home needs to be raised on blocks or pilings. With flood insurance rates set to skyrocket, especially for homes below base flood elevation levels, there's extra incentive for homeowners to raise their homes. That will result in the sale of massive quantities of concrete blocks, and other supplies over the next four years, which is how long we have to comply.

We've come a long way in the past six months in many of the areas affected by Sandy, but there are still a lot of people without primary residences. We've had it easy by comparison.

At the time of publication, the author held no positions in any of the stocks mentioned.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Jonathan Heller, CFA, is president of KEJ Financial Advisors, his fee-only financial planning company. Jon spent 17 years at Bloomberg Financial Markets in various roles, from 1989 until 2005. He ran Bloomberg's Equity Fundamental Research Department from 1994 until 1998, when he assumed responsibility for Bloomberg's Equity Data Research Department. In 2001, he joined Bloomberg's Publishing group as senior markets editor and writer for Bloomberg Personal Finance Magazine, and an associate editor and contributor for Bloomberg Markets Magazine. In 2005, he joined SEI Investments as director of investment communications within SEI's Investment Management Unit.

Jon is also the founder of the Cheap Stocks Web site, a site dedicated to deep-value investing. He has an undergraduate degree from Grove City College and an MBA from Rider University, where he has also served on the adjunct faculty; he is also a CFA charter holder.
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