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The Serious Impact of Flood Insurance on Real Estate Markets

Stronger storms have taken their toll across the U.S. Yet real estate news points to a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in peril. Long-term reauthorization of the program remains in limbo, with yet another 4-week extension allotted by Congress. But this short-term fix gives little confidence to homeowners, who stand to lose access to flood insurance if the NFIP lapses.

FEMA Could Stop Selling/Renewing Policies Nationwide…
Stymying sales on properties with a flood insurance requirement to the tune of 40,000-sales/month nationwide. And though private insurers are popping-up, this option is not available in every state, limiting opportunities for Americans seeking to protect themselves from flood losses.

NAR Pushes for Five-Year Re-Authorization
A senior policy rep for the NAR is pressing for the passage of the 21st Century Flood Reform Act. The bill would provide money for helping homeowners mitigating flood risk, limit insurance rate hikes, and improve flood mapping, seen as key to success. Of the more than 180,000 Houston-area properties flooded by hurricane Harvey (10% of the property tax roll), only 15% were covered by a flood insurance policy. Many of the homes imperiled by Harvey’s historic 50-inch rainfall were outside federally-recognized flood zones, and were uncovered. Improved flood mapping would increase awareness of flood risk, alerting homeowners to the need for coverage in areas previously designated as outside flood zones.

What Will the Future Hold?
Imagine the future of markets without access to this insurance. Homeowners need confidence in the availability of flood insurance. Though a lapse in the NFIP is unlikely, and FEMA will continue to have the authorization to pay valid claims with available funds, the realty community and homeowners await upcoming NFIP real estate news. Congress has until January 19, 2018 to take its next step.

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