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How Natural Disaster Impacts Home Values and Appraisals

Appraisers often find that following a disaster, determining home values can be a challenge. A recent report from Corelogic, takes a look at what factors impact the appraisal process following severe natural disasters, and why homeowners affected by storms and other disasters may seek an appraisal.

When a home is partially damaged, a homeowner may seek an appraisal to help support a diminution in value in order to seek a reduction in property taxes. These “as-is” property value opinions could be hard to quantify because the damage may impact the true market potential of the property.

If a home is completely destroyed, it can create more challenges. It may be impossible to determine the home’s quality and condition prior to destruction, and some homes, such as those destroyed by wildfires, may not be able to adequately offer local sales comps.

Even if a house is still intact, the damage on a surrounding area may still negatively impact homes value. Loss of vegetation and changes in market conditions due to natural disasters may play into a home’s value, despite a lack of damage. Additionally, the risk of further catastrophe may impact appraisals. Corelogic notes that the fear that hazards such as wildfires or floods may return in the near future may impact values and delay the rebuilding process.

Corelogic also notes how policies can cause the values to vary, and that a policy is often determined not by the appraisal or assessment, but by the reconstruction costs, which unlike an appraisal, captures all of the additive costs associated with rebuilding after a loss.

Without proper insurance, many homeowners impacted by natural disaster may be forced into foreclosure. CoreLogic’s 2019 Insurance Coverage Adequacy Report reveals how underinsurance can leave an impact on the lending industry.

According to Frank Nothaft, Chief Economist for CoreLogic, “The disruption of a family’s regular flow of income and payments, as well as substantial loss in property value, can trigger mortgage default; especially if homeowners are underinsured and cannot afford to rebuild.”

Corelogic concludes that “if information is power, then having full disclosure of a property helps protect families and businesses from financial catastrophe.”

Learn more about how to prepare for natural disasters at the 2019 inaugural Five Star Disaster Preparedness Symposium, at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans. The Symposium provides an opportunity for national leaders and executives to engage in critical conversations on diligence and preparedness, so the next time a natural disaster strikes, the industry will be ready to lend the proper support. Register for the Symposium here.

About Author: Seth Welborn

Seth Welborn is a Harding University graduate with a degree in English and a minor in writing. He is a contributing writer for MReport. An East Texas Native, he has studied abroad in Athens, Greece and works part-time as a photographer.
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