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Sept. 28, 2022, 4:47 p.m. EDT

1 million homes in Florida are at risk of storm damage because of Hurricane Ian

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By Aarthi Swaminathan

As Hurricane Ian approaches Florida, a new report estimates that more than a million homes are at risk of being damaged by the storm.

The report by real-estate data firm CoreLogic, estimates that 1,044,412 single- and multi-family homes along the Florida Gulf Coast are vulnerable to damage caused by the hurricane.

That’s likely to cost homeowners up to $260 billion in repairs and reconstruction, it added.

Homes along the Florida coast at risk 

The figures are assuming that Hurricane Ian makes landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, based on the forecast made earlier this week. On Wednesday, however, the late-season storm neared classification as a Category 5, weather forecasters said.

“Many homes along Florida’s western coast are at risk of storm surge inundation regardless of where the storm makes landfall,” Tom Jeffery, senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic, said in a statement, “and even more homeowners will contend with heavy rainfall and hurricane-force winds throughout midweek.”

To be clear, Florida has always been at elevated risk for property damage from hurricanes. A previous CoreLogic report said that in addition, the city of Miami also has a higher risk of incurring storm-surge as well as wind damage. 

Prepare adequately for a coming storm 

CoreLogic estimated that the cost of the hurricane is expected to be $258.3 billion.

The company refers to the cost incurred by storm damage as reconstruction cost value, or RCV. RCV figures represent the cost of completely rebuilding homes. 

The RCV figures also assume 100% destruction of all at-risk homes, and are not a representation of expected damages, CoreLogic said.

Should Hurricane Ian turn into a Category 4 storm, the number of homes at risk are the highest in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area of Florida.

If you’re a homeowner in Florida, make sure that given the hurricane risks, you’ve got enough emergency savings, and your insurance is all set. Repairs and reconstruction can be a big financial expense, which can set one back considerably if extensive work is needed.

CoreLogic said in a previous report that after Hurricane Ida evolved into a Category 4 storm in 2021 before reaching Louisiana and flooding many homes, many homeowners fell behind on their mortgage payments.

The percentage of homeowners who were at least three months behind payments in the town of Houma, La., jumped by 50%. Six months later, the serious delinquency rate was still above the state average.

One county in the Florida Keys is trying to buy back properties with high flood risk and encouraging sellers to protect residents and relocate them in safer spots, the Miami Herald reported. But the pace of buyouts has been slow.

Got thoughts on the housing market? Write to MarketWatch reporter Aarthi Swaminathan at aarthi@marketwatch.com

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