About 200 homeowners in Sayreville, N.J., want a government buyout of their homes, which have been hit repeatedly by flooding, but they have expressed doubts about whether that will happen after Hurricane Sandy. Buyouts can be an effective way to reduce exposure in flood-prone areas, said Daniel Van Abs of Rutgers University. "You wind up paying far more than the actual value of the property to constantly recover from getting another storm, and so it makes sense economically to remove those buildings from damage," Van Abs says.

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