Dorian Hurricane Damage in Florida Averted. Or Was it?

Dorian Hurricane Damage in Florida Averted. Or Was it?

Though Hurricane Dorian did not make landfall in Florida, it certainly highlighted concerns for real estate buyers and brokers, who witnessed the catastrophic damage and heartache that it caused in the islands in the Northern Bahamas. The real hurricane damage in Florida is done to our real estate markets with all the hype surrounding the media build up to the arrival of hurricanes to Florida.  This shakes buyer confidence each time this exercise is played out.  Although many locals know it’s mostly hype, those who are not experienced do not and this could easily push out of state buyers off the fence when considering a move south or a second seasonal home in Florida. 

Brokers say the media hype around possible hurricane damage in Florida won’t have a lasting effect on buyers and sellers’ minds, but the hurricane which hit the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahamas on Labor Day weekend, killing at least forty people and destroying homes and entire communities is giving some buyers and sellers pause for thought. The devastation was a grim reminder of what can happen anywhere on the coasts of our country.

Compared to a decade ago buyers are increasingly asking about natural disasters, they have more questions about the sea level rise and whether a property has impact windows and doors and what its flood elevation is. Buyers want homes built to new flood zone standards too.

 Florida’s building codes and resiliency efforts made by cities like Miami Beach make buyers more comfortable on closing properties. In 2017 for example, city of Miami residents voted to pass the $400 million ‘Miami Forever Bond’. Nearly half of those funds are intended to be spent on storm grade upgrades, flood pumps and sea walls. Miami Beach has installed storm water pumps and raised roads in some areas.

It is a conversation that is naturally had in the Florida Real Estate market. People are much more educated about natural disasters and global warming. The tide is going to rise everywhere and because of this there are really strong new laws that have been passed to ensure the safety of life and property in the event of a hurricane.

Insurers are still writing policies on Florida real estate. Having good insurance and saving millions of dollars in taxes, outweighs the risk of having a hurricane every 20 or 30 years. Even when storms hit here, and there is landscape damage and electrical damage, it all gets cleaned up pretty quickly. All Florida cities have emergency plans in place for hurricane season and FPL are extremely reactive too. In the end the effects will be felt to everyone’s numbers for the month of September, but the sales blip is smaller with each miss as time goes on and the infrastructure is improved on.

So in the end hurricane damage in Florida is all about confidence in the local market and governments that a hurricane won’t decimate things like it did with Hurricane Andrew.  The local building codes and confidence in the government oversight on hurricane preparedness has helped to keep investor and overall buyer market confidence high through each hurricane season.

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