Hurricane Idalia endangering over 800,000 homes, CoreLogic finds

Hurricane Idalia endangering over 800,000 homes, CoreLogic finds

A mailbox surrounded by floodwaters from Hurricane Idalia in Gulfport, Florida, US, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. Hurricane Idalia has knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers, grounded more than 800 flights and unleashed floods along Florida’s coast far from where it came ashore as a Category 3 storm earlier today.

Juan Manuel Barrero Bueno/Bloomberg

Hurricane Idalia’s destruction could put over 800,000 dwellings along the Florida Gulf Coast at risk for damages that could top out around $238.4 billion, CoreLogic estimates.

The property analytics firm disclosed its projection Tuesday evening following a federal forecast suggesting Idalia would make landfall as a Category 3 storm. The hurricane did so Wednesday morning, striking Florida’s “Bend Bend” region, which includes Tallahassee, with winds up to 150 miles per hour and dangerous storm surges of water swept onshore. 

Idalia is battering a Sunshine State housing market also beset by significant homeowners insurer woes. The storm may also spark more early delinquencies and new forbearances as Hurricane Ian did last year, and as 2021’s Hurricane Ida has in New Jersey. 

This week’s catastrophe is likely to produce a lower insured cost compared to Ian because of the sparsely populated impact area, said Jon Schneyer, director of Catastrophic Response at CoreLogic. 

“Even so, systems that make landfall along the Gulf Coast are likely to generate a more substantial storm surge than equivalent storms that hit the Atlantic Coast,” he said in a press release. 

CoreLogic’s Idalia estimate is based on its own data and hazard risk models and spans 808,321 buildings including both single-family and multifamily properties. The $238.4 billion figure stems from the firm’s Reconstruction Cost Value, which represents the expenses for a total loss including materials, equipment and labor but not the value of the land or lot. 

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The National Hurricane Center as of Wednesday morning was projecting storm surge as high as 11 feet between Tallahassee and Tampa, while Tampa Bay has already experienced flooding, according to reports. The storm is expected to also impact Georgia and the Carolinas. 

Florida has one of the nation’s hottest housing markets, with relatively affordable home prices bucking a national decline in continuing to grow in recent months. The state’s homeowners also pay some of the highest average property insurance premiums in the country, exacerbated by both major storms and by rampant litigation. 

Gov. RonDeSantis in May moved to address their state’s troubled homeowners insurance market, although insurer AAA which pulled back slightly from the Sunshine State this summer said the changes would take time to materialize. 

Officials from 10 states including Florida earlier this year sued federal regulators over escalating National Flood Insurance Program premiums, which lenders have said will severely impact homeownership in those regions.