September 2017’s Hurricane Irma made a devastating visit to Florida and created billions of dollars in a trail of destruction in various areas. Storm surges, a rise in the sea level, heavy rainfall, high winds that went on for many hours, and parts of one’s property going underwater with seawater for days at a time, made homeowners and investors aware of the necessity of considering higher ground when choosing a home or other project. Businesses having to close for days or weeks in the aftermath and recovery showed financial losses that are often hard to make up.
Miami Beach, for example, has had to do a lot of serious thinking and planning considering the number of studies that predict a rise of five feet in the sea level by the end of this century and that billions of dollars of existing property throughout the state might be underwater by the year 2050. Miami Beach has therefore already started a costly and ambitious defensive program of raising roads and the installation of powerful pumps to combat flood waters.
Although there is normally extra value in waterfront properties, hazards such as the above-mentioned ones could decrease value. If an area gets superstorms every couple of years with greater intensity and frequency, real estate values can change even faster. Many people are even considering moving to another higher and drier state, and Florida does not want to lose its appeal as a prime place to relocate or retire.
According to Florida Realtors, even though Hurricane Irma knocked the South Florida real estate industry out of commission for a good part of September and caused some existing home sales to plummet by double digits in a temporary decline, the good news for sellers is that, surprisingly, prices increased. Single-family Florida homes sales fell 20.4 percent while the median sales price grew 7.6 percent to $239,900. South Florida condo and townhome sales dropped 22.7 percent, but the median sales price increased 6.5 percent to $181,000. Throughout the state, condo and townhouse sales were down 15.9 percent while the median sales price increased to $173,000.
It is expected that Florida homes will continue to be considered advantageous and that the growing population, robust employment, and appeal of retirement communities will continue to draw purchasers who will still want to congregate in what is normally a beautiful Florida climate.