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Homeowners start counting the cost of Hurricane Florence

By Mike Wheatley | September 17, 2018

As Hurricane Florence, now downgraded to a tropical depression, continues to wreak havoc over large parts of the East Coast, several real estate firms and professionals have been livestreaming news of the event in order to help keep their communities informed.

For example, Kitty Hawk, NYC.-based Realtor firm Twiddy & Company is broadcasting live footage of the storm with an oceanfront webcam. Meanwhile Janet Loper, the owner of NextGen Real Estate in Lexington, South Carolina, posted a livestream on her Facebook page as the hurricane hit Myrtle Beach.

Hurricane Florence is still affecting six states at the time of writing and is expected to intensify Tuesday, media reports say. The storm has brought with it record-breaking rainfall and deadly flash flooding in the Carolinas, knocking out the power to thousands of homes. Meteorologists are warning of further damage in the coming days, including a widespread ripple affect that may hit other communities in the area that have so far been unscathed.

The Real Deal reports that’s chief economist Danielle Hale said the effects of Florence could disrupt national home sales and construction for “months”. She says there could well be a drop-off in demand for homes in the area as buyers re-evaluate if they want to move to the area. Meanwhile, real estate data analytics firm CoreLogic says as many as 250,000 homes may have been damaged by Florence.

Another problem for homeowners in the affected areas reported by USA Today is that may could be underinsured, lacking protection against flooding damage, for example. The paper reckons just 10 to 20 percent of homeowners in the coastal parts of North Carolina are covered under the federal National Flood Insurance Program, while just 1 to 3 percent of inland properties in the state have coverage.

In total, just 3 percent of North Carolina homeowners are said to have flood insurance coverage, and just 8 percent in South Carolina.

“Obviously, that leaves a lot of people uninsured,” John Rollins of actuarial firm Milliman told USA Today, adding that many people don’t realize a standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage.

FEMA data shows that the estimated loss for a 1,000 square-foot single-story home with around $20,000 worth of possessions that’s flooded by an inch of water could run to $11,000. For a home flooded with 5 inches of water, the cost runs to $18,000.

““You are looking at a lot of homeowners who will have out-of-pocket costs that could easily be five figures—or more than $10,000,” Cathy Seifert, an insurance analyst at research firm CFRA, told CBS News.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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