Mortgage

Hurricane Ian’s harm to Florida properties may whole $258.5B

Rain falls ahead of Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, Florida, US, on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022. Hurricane Ian rapidly gained strength — with winds reaching 155 miles an hour — as it barreled toward the coast of Florida, threatening to rip roofs off of homes, wreck agricultural crops and cripple infrastructure as one of the costliest storms to ever hit the US. Photographer: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg

Hurricane Ian, a Category 4 storm, is expected to make landfall on the Florida Gulf Coast imminently. Potential damage to homes in its path could cost billions of dollars, according to a report published by CoreLogic on Wednesday.

Over one million single-family and multifamily homes along the coast are at risk of storm surge damage from Hurricane Ian, the data vendor’s report said. Reconstruction cost value is estimated at $258.5 billion.  

CoreLogic’s figures assume that Ian makes landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, the report noted. As of publication time, Ian is just 2 mph shy of Category 5 status.

Homes along Florida’s western coast are at risk of being battered by the storm regardless of where the storm makes landfall, said Dr. Tom Jeffery, senior hazard scientist at CoreLogic, in a statement.

“Hurricane Ian has all the ingredients you need for a bad storm surge event,” said Jeffery. “Due to Hurricane Ian’s slower speed and rapid intensification in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the threat of a widening wind field bringing damaging storm surge increases each day.” 

Ahead of Ian’s landfall, Fannie Mae issued a press release reminding homeowners of available mortgage assistance and disaster relief options. 

Borrowers impacted by the storm can opt for a forbearance plan for up to 90 days, Fannie said. Additionally, the mortgage giant noted that homeowners are often eligible to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months, during which homeowners will not incur late fees and foreclosure and other legal proceedings are suspended.

Homeowners in need should contact their mortgage servicers and seek relief options as soon as possible, said Cyndi Danko, chief credit officer at Fannie Mae, in a statement. 

Meanwhile, Freddie Mac via its Twitter account warned borrowers that scammers prey on people impacted by natural disasters and provided tips on how borrowers can avoid falling victim to natural disaster-related schemes.

CoreLogic, in its 2022 annual hurricane report, predicted a more active hurricane season. The data vendor said that climate change is a contributing factor to increasing hurricane frequency. 

Nearly 7.8 million homes with more than $2.3 trillion in estimated combined reconstruction cost value are at risk of hurricane-related damages during the current Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, the data vendor’s forecast said. 

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