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Update: Hurricane Harvey and Flood Insurance

It has been three days since Hurricane Harvey made landfall off the coast of Texas, and flooding continues to be a major concern for impacted residents. Houston, in particular, was especially ravaged rainfall, with the largest city receiving 25 inches of rain in just two days. According multiple news sources, another 25 inches is expected in the next few days as Harvey drifts out to the Gulf of Mexico before crossing over southeast Texas again.

CoreLogic has been following this developing story and conducting its own research on the fallout as it pertains to housing. Monday morning the organization found that 52 percent of properties inside the Houston metro are at a high risk of flooding are not in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA) as designated by Federal Emergency Management Agency, and thereby not required to have flood insurance for a federally insured mortgage.

Houston-Sugarland-Baytown area has the largest number of properties outside of the SFHA. Out of 2,340,343 total properties in the area, 1,210,185 are at high and moderate risk of flooding, but sit outside the SFHA. There are only 268,928 properties inside of SFHA that are designated at extreme or very high risk and thereby required to have flood insurance.

Corpus Christi, which was almost directly in Harvey’s path as it struck the coast Friday night, only had 35 percent of the properties (12,099 out of 34,330) in high or moderate risk of flooding sit outside the SFHA.

The Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos metro only had the least amount of properties in high or moderate risk of flooding located outside the SFHA—127,073 out of 701,325 total properties, or 18 percent—but that area is only expected to receive one to three inches of rain through Wednesday, according to the Austin-American Statesman.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have both issued bulletins reminding borrowers affected by the disaster of special forbearance options available to help ease the burden.

Due to the president announcing that multiple counties in southeast Texas are now disaster areas, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be able to offer additional mortgage and foreclosure relief to borrowers in these communities.

“Today, our thoughts and prayers are with those who are beginning the process of recovering from Hurricane Harvey,” said HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson. “As FEMA begins to assess the damage and respond to the immediate needs of residents, HUD will be there to offer assistance and support the longer-term housing recovery efforts.”

CoreLogic’s analysis, however, does not factor in storm surge or flash-flooding risk. You can read their full findings here.


About Author: Joey Pizzolato

Joey Pizzolato is the Online Editor of DS News and MReport. He is a graduate of Spalding University, where he holds a holds an MFA in Writing as well as DePaul University, where he received a B.A. in English. His fiction and nonfiction have been published in a variety of print and online journals and magazines. To contact Pizzolato, email joseph.pizzolato@thefivestar.com.

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