Irma Proves Florida’s Housing Resiliency, Pros Say

September 18, 2017

Real estate professionals in South Florida say housing was largely spared the wrath of Hurricane Irma last week, and they expect only minor delays in closings. Homes that were under contract when Irma hit will need to be reinspected, says Jim Flood, regional manager for Supreme Lending in Fort Lauderdale. Some lenders are covering the average $200 cost for reinspections and extending interest rate lock-ins for 10 days to help clients minimize delays. “We think the market will find its way back and recover pretty quickly,” Flood told Miami’s Sun Sentinel.

Closings likely will be delayed by only a few weeks, says Marcie DePlaza, COO for Florida real estate group GL Homes, which has building projects throughout the state. DePlaza says many of the company’s projects fared well through the storm and sustained only minimal damage—mostly to landscaping and screen enclosures.

Lennar Corp., the nation’s second largest builder, which is based in Miami, says Irma likely will delay about 700 fourth-quarter home deliveries until 2018. “The expected shift of deliveries this year not only takes into account damage from the storm but also short-term labor challenges, power outages, potential delays in new home utility connections and building department inspection, and permitting delays,” Lennar CEO Stuart Miller said in a statement.

The demand for new homes is expected to grow in the near future. Builders say the way that newer homes were able to withstand Irma following the implementation of stricter building codes may spark greater demand. GL Homes says its properties are being built to withstand 170 mph winds.

“This was a pretty significant storm, and the fact that we weathered it so well—it bodes well long-term,” Ken Krasnow, managing director of Colliers International South Florida, told the Sentinel. Colliers owns about 7 million square feet of commercial space in the region and reported only one minor roof issue with one of its buildings. “Coming out of this, I think we are a more resilient region.”

Source: “Hurricane Irma Spared Real Estate Market Big Damage, Caused Minor Construction, Closing Delays,” Sun Sentinel (Sept. 15, 2017)