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Natural disasters caused $11B worth of real estate damage in 2018

By Mike Wheatley | January 23, 2019

The United States was hit hard by natural disasters in 2018, suffering 11 major events including floods, hurricanes and wildfires that caused more than $11 billion in residential and commercial real estate losses.

The findings from CoreLogic’s Natural Hazard Report reveal there were more than 1,600 significant flood events in the U.S. Residential and commercial flood damage in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia from Hurricane Florence caused up to $28.5 billion in damages, CoreLogic said. Some 85 percent of those losses were not covered by insurance policies, meaning that property owners had to pay for repairs out of their own pocket.

Nationwide, 6 percent of properties are within the Special Flood Hazard Areas. But only about one-third of those properties have flood insurance policies.

“In 2018, the U.S. continued to experience damaging weather and natural catastrophes in high exposure areas, and in some instances, in regions that had been impacted in less than a year prior,” said Howard Botts, chief scientist at CoreLogic. “Hazards will always pose a threat to homes and businesses and knowing exactly what that risk entails is critical in helping ensure sufficient protection from the financial catastrophes that so often follow natural disasters.”

The 2018 Atlantic hurricane season saw 15 named storms, with eight of those becoming hurricanes. The biggest damage was caused by Hurricane Florence (Category 1) and Hurricane Michael (Category 4). Florence caused catastrophic flooding and wind damage to around 700,000 residential and commercial properties, while Michael resulted in $4 billion worth of residential and commercial insured losses from winds and storm surges, CoreLogic noted.

Wildfires were another problem, wiping out millions of dollars worth of real estate in 2018.

“The number of acres that burned in 2018 is the eighth highest in U.S. history,” CoreLogic reported. Eleven western states saw at least one wildfire that burned more than 50,000 acres. California and Oregon saw the most.

Northern California’s Camp Fire in November 2018 turned nearly the entire city of Paradise into ash. More than 18,000 homes and businesses were damaged. The Woolsey wildfire in Malibu destroyed more than 1,600 structures. These two wildfires alone caused up to $19 billion in total insured and uninsured losses, CoreLogic estimates.

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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