Most Fla. Owners Boosted Home Against Threats

Study: 58% of U.S. homeowners have done something to protect their home from climate-change threats, but in No. 1 Fla, that percentage rises to 71%.

SEATTLE – More than half (58%) of U.S. homeowners have spent money to make their homes more resilient to climate threats, according to a report from Redfin. It’s based on a survey of about 1,000 homeowners commissioned in August 2022.

However, more Florida homeowners have done so than any other state, with almost three out of four (71%) saying they spent money to make their homes more resilient to challenges caused by a changing global climate.

Top threats countered by homeowners’ upgrades

  • 26% – invested money to combat extreme heat
  • 22% – extreme cold
  • 16% – flooding
  • 14% – hurricanes or major tropical storms
  • 13% – poor air quality
  • 12% – tornadoes
  • 11% – earthquakes
  • 11% – wildfires

In Florida, 40% of homeowners invested in making their homes more resilient to hurricanes or other major tropical storms – nearly triple the national share.

“Americans are shelling out cash to fortify their homes against natural disasters as they increasingly move to at-risk areas despite intensifying climate change,” says Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “Unfortunately, their investments aren’t always enough – a reality that came into focus when Hurricane Ian destroyed scores of homes, many of which lacked flood insurance. Homeowners should be aware that their property value could drop over time if their area becomes uninsurable and/or uninhabitable due to climate change.”

One-third (33%) of homeowners spent $5,000 or more to fortify their homes against climate risk, roughly one-quarter spent up to $4,999 and 42% have invested nothing.

Cape Coral, North Port and Tampa – three Florida metros hit hard by Hurricane Ian – consistently rank on Redfin’s list of top migration destinations, which is based on how many more Redfin.com users are looking to move in than leave.

“Many of the newer homes are still standing after Hurricane Ian, but even those have damage after getting inundated with nine feet or more of water,” says Isabel Arias-Squires, a Redfin real estate agent in Cape Coral. “But a lot of the old houses are gone. In the past, storms have destroyed fences and roofs in Cape Coral. This time, people lost their entire home.

“A lot of homeowners may just end up walking away because the cost of rebuilding is too high. Let’s say you need a new $20,000 roof and insurance only covers $15,000. You might not have the additional $5,000 out of pocket, and by the time the roofers show up in six months, the total cost of the new roof might have increased to $30,000.”

Flooding tops the list of insurance-specific coverage:

  • 36% of homeowners have insurance to cover flooding
  • 33% cover tornadoes
  • 29% cover hurricanes/other major tropical storms
  • 24% cover wildfires
  • 18% cover earthquakes

While flooding is the top risk insured by homeowners, much of flood-prone America remains underinsured. Of the Florida counties told to evacuate before Hurricane Ian, only 18.5% had coverage through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, though some likely had flood coverage through a private insurance firm.

© 2022 Florida Realtors®