Welcome to my first weekly news brief, sharing important articles published about the housing industries. Please leave a comment about any newsworthy items I missed so they can be included next week.
Hurricane Ian recovery continues to dominate the news. What's fascinating is how this event is causing us to analyze what allowed such devastation to occur … and what we'll do differently in the future, to mitigate the impact of similar weather events.
Participants in The Housing Industries
- Construction industry – land developers, builders and companies offering building materials and products.
- Real estate industry – real estate agents and those involved in closings from banks and mortgage companies to title companies, insurance companies, real estate attorneys, moving companies and more.
- Government agencies – regulating everything from community development and building codes to the players involved in real estate from the closing to loan payoff.
What's Newsworthy in the Housing Industries
These 11 Cities Will Actually Pay You to Move There
10/5/22 on Zillow, These 11 Cities Will Actually Pay You to Move There
The pandemic has changed our lives in ways we're still discovering. Working at home was a success and many people will now only work at home. This allows them to live where they want … not where their employer is located.
That's the perfect backdrop for cities around the US to recruit new residents with incentives to move there. Zillow shares relocation programs for 11 cities, primarily ones in the middle of the country, with a few in the south. The common features include very reasonable rent (under $2,000) and home values ($200,000 plus/minus).
Incentives vary by program. They can include a relocation allowance, assistance with rental costs or home purchase, and freebies to introduce you to area activities like skiing and white water rafting.
- Paducah, Kentucky
- Cities in the Shoals, Alabama region
- Greater Rochester, New York
- West Lafayette, Indiana
- Tulsa, Oklahoma
- Cities in Southwest Michigan
- Communities in West Virginia
- Natchez, Mississippi
- Bemidji, Minnesota
- Topeka, Kansas
- Newton, Iowa
Population is ‘exploding’ in the region hit hardest by Hurricane Ian
There are lots of reasons why Hurricane Ian's impact on Florida was so catastrophic. While we can't control the weather, there are many things we can do to reduce the impact of hurricane's that sweep across Florida on a regular basis.
Florida has done some things right with the Florida Building Code requiring windows to be impact resistant or protected on houses located within one mile of the coast where wind speeds can reach 100 mph or greater. That addresses wind damage but …
Do we know how to protect our homes from storm surge and flooding?
That's where Florida's government appears to be going in the wrong direction:
- In 2011, Florida's state legislature loosened regulations meant to control development in high-risk areas.
- The Florida government also eliminated the Department of Community Affairs which focused on regulating growth an development.
Cape Coral (map below) that sits between Fort Myers and Pine Island is a perfect example of the unchecked growth. It was built on a flood plain that was destined to flood … so maybe it's lovely canals should have been a red flag?
This article explores ways in which Florida can rebuild smarter and there's an NPR article, What the devastation from Hurricane Ian tell us about Florida's building codes, also questions how we can avoid similar problems in the future.
- Will homeowners need to build more resilient homes, ones that follow Florida's building codes? And will these codes be enhanced to withstand severe flooding?
- Will they discourage rebuilding in vulnerable areas like Cape Coral? There are government programs that buy frequently flooded properties.
Far from coasts, flooding from Hurricane Ian devastates inland communities
10/4/22 in Washington Post, Far from coasts, flooding from Hurricane Ian devastates inland communities
Hurricane news focuses on the communities along the coast that bear the brunt of the storm. But sadly, communities across central Florida are also dealing with flooded rivers, roads, houses and more.
People that couldn't walk out from their flooded homes had to be rescued by boat. The storm water systems that are supposed to carry this water away is overwhelmed so it's not disappearing in a day or two. The use of retention ponds simply didn't work. They along with ponds, golf courses and even apartment complexes turned into lakes.
People want to understand why this happened … especially those that didn't buy flood insurance.
- More than a foot of water was recorded in many areas.
- The ground was already saturated from the peak rainy season, illustrated by Orlando's average monthly rainfall.
The problem is today's planning is based on historical weather patterns which would say this was a 500year storm. The reality though is quite different with global warming which means government now needs to forecast future requirements based on modeling that is changing rapidly as the early warms.
Government and homeowners have to rethink ways to protect themselves as this type of event will happen again. So it might be time to buy flood insurance to avoid losing your home because you didn't have insurance coverage.
- What Homeowner Insurance Do You Have? and Need?
- Do You Really Need Flood Insurance?
- When FEMA maps say you're not in a flood zone … buying flood insurance is your decision. Here's how to fight your mortgage servicing company based on my personal Flood Insurance Nightmare.
Wondering about flood insurance (I'm rethinking after Hurricane Ian)? This is one of the major issues affecting homeowners and the housing industries across the US, especially as we grapple with insurance coverage for wildfires.
How inflation could impact the cost of rebuilding after Hurricane Ian
10/1/22 on NBC News, How inflation could impact the cost of rebuilding after Hurricane Ian
A hurricane or any other severe weather event that threatens life is challenging. But as news coverage moves on, those who suffered are faced with equally challenging problems to resolve. People first wait for their power to come back on and water systems to be restored by others.
Homeowners than face a perilous journey through rebuilding their home and their lives. They have to determine what their insurance will cover and then it's time to find the labor and materials needed to rebuild.
This article looks at these rebuilding costs. They're still substantially higher than last year with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting building materials up 14.3% over last year. This isn't a good news story and there's lots of speculation as to how inflation will affect rebuilding.