$170B in Property Damage Predicted as Florence Nears
September 13, 2018
Hurricane Florence is churning off the East Coast, threatening to slam the Carolinas and Virginia with high winds and catastrophic flooding as early as Thursday afternoon. More than 10 million people in the storm’s path have been ordered to evacuate. Meteorologists predict the eye of the hurricane to come ashore Friday afternoon near the North Carolina-South Carolina border.
NAR Renews Call for Flood Insurance Reform
The National Association of REALTORS® is asking its members to remind their congressional representatives that long-term renewal of the National Flood Insurance Program—which is set to expire Nov. 30—is vital. NFIP provides up to $350,000 in flood insurance coverage to policyholders in 22,000 communities nationwide. The program, however, has been drained of funding and nearly lapsed several times in recent years. “Flooding is the most common disaster in the United States,” says NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “As another potential historic flooding event looms, we urge Congress to take up the fight for responsible long-term NFIP reform as swiftly as possible.”
Nearly 759,000 homes are in the storm’s path, and hurricane winds and rains could bring up to $170 billion in damages to the area, according to estimates from CoreLogic, a real estate data firm.
Potential wind speeds of 110 mph remain a big threat. Realtor.com® spoke with housing experts about why certain homes may be at greater risk of damage than others. For example, older homes may be at greater risk than newer homes that were built to different codes, as well as homes with certain roof-lines. Homes with a peaked, triangular gable roof may be more likely to be spared from the high winds, but homes with a hip roof—in which all four edges incline downward—may be the most at risk.
“The wind can get underneath and peel it back,” Sarah Kirby, a professor with a specialty in housing at North Carolina State University, told realtor.com®.
Historic flooding rains to the area are also a great risk. For homeowners who are affected by the hurricane, NerdWallet suggests owners contact the following entities as soon as they’ve learned whether they have damage to their property:
- Contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency: Either register with FEMA online, in person at a disaster recovery center, or by calling 1-800-621-3362.
- Check with your homeowner's insurance company, plus any flood insurance company.
- Check with your mortgage servicer, the company that your monthly payments are sent to. (It might not be your original mortgage lender.)
Help your clients prepare—the National Association of REALTORS® has developed a Disaster Preparation Resources page to help real estate professionals provide resources to affected clients as well as resources for real estate professionals’ whose own homes or businesses have been affected.
“Disaster Preparation Resources,” National Association of REALTORS® (September 2018) and “If Hurricane Florence Hits Your Home, How Could It Affect Your Mortgage?” NerdWallet.com/USA Today (Sept. 11, 2018)
Updated: September 20, 2019