A Houstonian Perspective: Post-Hurricane Harvey
Posted by: Elias Herrera, International Services Account Manager, Coldwell Banker United, Realtors
Several months after Hurricane Harvey, Houstonians continue to grapple with the consequences of one of the costliest storms to ever strike the United States. The post-storm impact has been varied across our nearly 9,000-square-mile metropolitan area. Living in the 100-year flood plain during the storm, I made it through Harvey unscathed. However, some of my friends and family, despite not living in a flood plain, found themselves quickly inundated with water and were left dealing with the consequences of record-level floods.
What advice can you provide someone relocating to Houston? How do you advise them to purchase a home?
First, working with a knowledgeable insurance agent and Realtor® will help consumers learn the history and ins-and-outs of a neighborhood. It’s wise to recommend the buyer purchase a flood insurance policy regardless of where the home falls on the flood map and take additional precautionary measures such as ensuring a potential home has:
- Water-resistant flooring
- Adequate gutters
- Proper drainage around sloping soil and the sides of the home
Record-breaking floods in recent years have shown that we can always expect the unexpected, and you can never over prepare when it comes to protecting your largest asset, your home.
Rental and Housing Market in Houston
Recently, there have been fewer rental properties available in the Houston market, particularly in the areas most heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Prices for rentals have been strong, and many corporate-owned apartment complexes are reluctant to offer as many move-in incentives as they did during the first two quarters of 2017.
Notably, the west side of Houston along the Energy Corridor was hit hard due to its proximity to the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs, which has caused rental prices to increase due to demand for housing while homeowners rebuild. Contractors have also been in short supply due to the large amount of work needed to rebuild flood-damaged homes.
Meyerland, a community in southwest Houston that is well known for its large mid-century single-level homes, was also severely affected. Some determined homeowners have contracted engineering firms to physically lift their homes off the ground to mitigate future flooding, and new homes are also being constructed several feet off the ground to reduce the risk of damage as well as flood insurance premiums.
As a flood insurance policyholder, I am anxious to see prices on my renewal policy for 2018. During the five years I’ve had flood insurance, I have only seen increases, and many Houston homeowners are bracing for sticker shock the next two years as a result of 2017’s devastating hurricanes on the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico.
Meanwhile, the Houston Association of Realtors reports that during the past few months of 2017, home sales remained ahead of 2016, and single-family home inventory remains less than four months. Despite all the damage caused by Harvey, Houstonians have banded together while remaining resilient and compassionate. The market indicates that our city is still positioned to continue rebuilding and growing, but with an increased awareness of the dangers of flooding in our city.