Hurricanes and the Real Estate Market

Picture of Author: Rich Barnhart

Author: Rich Barnhart

It has been a tough hurricane season so far. Hurricane Irma was the most intense storm to hit South Florida since Wilma in 2005. Irma forced the largest evacuation in Florida’s history and caused widespread damage throughout the state, especially in the Florida Keys. Here in the Fort Lauderdale area we endured tropical storm and hurricane force winds which brought down plenty of trees and left many residents without power. In the grand scheme of things we were lucky and the damage here was fairly limited, especially compared to the Lower Florida Keys. But, was it just luck or are we better prepared?

South Florida has been getting hit by major hurricanes forever, and every time a storm hits we bounce back stronger than before. Our building codes are tougher, information and warning systems are more reliable, and our local and state governments are much more prepared to keep us safe. With the advanced warning of Irma, many Florida residents had plenty of time to secure their homes and evacuate to safety. Most Floridians simply brought the patio furniture inside, closed the shutters and hunkered down, bonding with family and neighbors at hurricane parties. For most property owners damage was limited to downed trees and fences. Those who sustained more extensive property damage are rebuilding with more “hurricane-proof” materials and better quality construction. Homeowners are increasing their property values and saving on insurance premiums with new roofs, impact resistant windows and hurricane rated shutters. Overall, we are stronger, safer and even better prepared for the next storm.

So what does this mean for our real estate market? Nobody really knows for sure what the short term affects will be, but looking back at history we know for certain that South Florida’s real estate market is extremely resilient and rebounds quickly from most destructive events, whether caused by mother nature or Wall Street. People want to live in South Florida. It is a proven market in the long term and there will always be demand for property here. Our real estate market is fundamentally strong and while closed transaction volume is down in Broward County since Hurricane Irma, this could actually be a welcome correction, especially in the lower price ranges where inventory remains tight and affordability is a concern for many home buyers.

Bottom line, if you are looking to purchase real estate in South Florida don’t let hurricanes scare you away. Most Floridians will take hurricanes over wild fires or earthquakes any day, and we have proven we can rebound from just about anything. Buyers in our market should get the appropriate inspections and sellers should consider hurricane-proof improvements that make properties more marketable. Of course, make sure you have an experienced local real estate broker and a reputable insurance agent working for you.

We are stronger!

Hurricane Irma Fort Lauderdale

Blog Author:

Rich Barnhart

Rich is the broker and owner of By The Sea Realty and a frequent contributor to the company's real estate blog.

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