Last month, a massive storm system swept through the northeast, wreaking havoc in communities along its path. Superstorm Sandy, which had been downgraded to a tropical storm just hours before making landfall, is estimated to have caused $50 billion dollars in damage, making it the second most costly storm in U.S. history after Hurricane Katrina.

An estimated 40,000 households have been displaced by Sandy. Some of these homes simply are without power, while many suffered massive flooding and fire damage.

The Federal government is coming to the aid of these individuals and families that have been impacted by Sandy. More than $200 million in housing aid will provide temporary housing for those with short-term needs, and funding will be available to repair homes significantly damaged by the storm.

Experts say that Sandy’s aftermath may have an affect on the housing market’s recovery. While it will be a temporary slowdown of the recovery, the east coast will see a decline in home sales as sellers take their damaged homes off the market and buyers hold off on purchases. Pending sales will be delayed as lenders insist on new appraisals in areas impacted by Sandy.

It is expected that Sandy will affect residential construction in two ways. First, remodeling activity will increase as homeowners who sustained damage to their properties will hire contractors to make immediate repairs. Secondly, new housing construction will slow due to seasonal restraints and the fact that many of the homes destroyed by Sandy are located along the shore and tend to be vacation properties and as such, are not considered to be in need of immediate repair.

Hurricanes and other natural disasters effect communities on many levels, from home loss, to business closures, to electrical outages. The true impact of Superstorm Sandy may not be known for a while, but those directly impacted are already rebuilding.

To make a donation to the recovery efforts, please contact the Red Cross.