Christie announced the program at a town meeting in Sayreville, a central New Jersey town where the Raritan River flows into Raritan Bay, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported. He said $300 million in federal funds would be available.
The catch for homeowners is that everyone in a neighborhood or group of houses must agree. Christie said those houses purchased under the program will be torn down to create open space that can be part of flood defenses under the state's Blue Acres program.
"You all need to get together as a neighborhood and say 'we're ready to go,'" the governor said.
Christie said about 1,000 homes damaged by Sandy will be eligible. The program also targets the Passaic River basin in northern New Jersey, where extensive building on the flood plain has created major flood problems.