Flood Insurance Rate Hikes Will Hurt Key West Homeowners and make Sales More Difficult

I attended a FEMA panel discussion last week in DC. The news is not good for Key West and the Keys and more than a million homeowners around the country with pre-FIRM houses constructed before the National Flood Insurance program was adopted here at the end of 1974.

Rate increases are triggered immediately on the sale of all such homes and will be retroactive from July 2012 when the Biggert Waters Act was passed and became law. One example I have heard of recently is a Key Largo home purchased in March this year. The flood insurance policy was $1,300/year. It is now going up to over $9,800/year. I have heard of rates over $30,000/year in some cases.

Rate increases will be phased in more slowly for owner-occupants and more quickly for rental and investment homes. And, as I said, immediately upon sale. We need to act together now. We need to unite as Realtors and residents of the Keys to do what we can to help. The only way to stop the increases is for Congress to modify or amend the Biggert Waters Act. We should work on getting that done.

The ultimate solution will be to raise all these homes above base flood level. That will take time and money and we will need to get community grants to help do it. So let’s all contact our local elected officials to help us. We are all in it together and we must work together for solutions.
NAR and Florida Realtors both strongly supported this bill. We see now that it was a mistake. As a compromise to getting the National Flood Insurance Program re-authorized, that is hurting us along with over a million other policy-holders. We need to demand that both NAR and FR lobby Congress to change the Biggert Waters Act and save our homes.

Michael Larson

Century 21 All Keys
1223 White Street #105
Key West, Fl. 33040
305.294.4200 office