The resultant wind and storm surges from Hurricane Matthew could have caused up to $6 billion worth of damage to approximately 1.5 million residential and commercial properties in the southeastern U.S. this past weekend, according to CoreLogic.
Meanwhile, the areas hardest-hit by the Category 4 hurricane had seen steady increases in homeowner's insurance over the course of the past few years, real-estate website Trulia reported. As a result, many people stopped paying for the costly insurance.
To assist these homeowners, Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are offering mortgage assistance programs that include some months of forbearance.
In the lead-up to the storm, builders prepared their job sites to reduce the risk of damage to their own and others' property. Now it remains to be seen how much damage is done and what can be fixed. Builders will play a key role in repairing the damage, but hampering efforts in the immediate aftermath are torn up roadways, scarce gasoline and power outages.
As the nation saw in the repair and rebuilding efforts following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012, contractors face long-term challenges from delayed insurance payouts and mold developing as a result of flood damage to changing codes and new building requirements that slow the pace of recovery. As late as October 2015, individuals reporting property damage from Hurricane Sandy were still dealing with insurance underpayments and delays in FEMA review, according to the International Business Times.
Added to the emotional, physical and financial devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew is a rise in property insurance. Many homeowners in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas have dropped their insurance policies due to increasing costs, Trulia reported, citing U.S. Census Bureau figures. In 2014, 78% of Miami-area homeowners reported that they had homeowner’s insurance, down from 90% in 2006. In the Tampa-St. Petersburg market, which is among the most active residential construction markets in the country, 79% of homeowners said they had insurance, compared to 92% who claimed the same in 2006.