Hurricane Florence’s Impact on the North Carolina Housing Markets

Earlier this month Hurricane Florence caused considerable damage in parts of the southeast, particularly North Carolina. As the clean up and recovery process begins, our North Carolina Regional Directors weigh in on the impact of the storm on the region’s housing markets.

We’ve gathered up their thoughts and provided their commentary below to help you better understand the lasting impact of Florence:

Commentary from Jenifer Gooch, Regional Director 

Preparations for Hurricane Florence in the Charlotte region began the week leading up to the storm, with many construction sites reinforcing their Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans and battening down vertical construction sites in anticipation of what was forecasted.  

City of Charlotte officials released a memo to all construction site permit holders in city limits detailing preemptive measures to be taken. City and county officials across the metropolitan region followed suit. Horizontal development across the Charlotte MSA can handle anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of rain with proper BMPs in place.  

For the most part, all of Charlotte’s 4,812 residential homes under construction, as well as the 21,843 lots in development, went unscathed. The Charlotte region saw anywhere from 6 to 10 inches of rain over a three day period, and the precautions taken by operations and land development teams withstood the deluge of rain.

The southeastern portion of our state has not fared so well.  While I-40 reopened on September 24th, four days before NCDOT projected, clean up along the river banks and outer banks has just begun.


Raleigh-Durham & Wilmington
Commentary by Amanda Hoyle, Metrostudy Regional Director 

While much of southeastern and coastal North Carolina is still waiting for the remaining floodwaters to recede and electricity to be restored as of Sept. 26 following Hurricane Florence’s slow moving landfall near Wrightsville Beach 11 days earlier, the bulk of North Carolina’s new home construction market escaped many of the catastrophic predictions that had preceded the storm.

Early reports from homebuilders in the Raleigh-Durham metro area, Charlotte metro area, and Greensboro-Winston-Salem metro area, which altogether account for about 82 percent of all new home sales in the state, showed little to no damage had been reported.

“A couple leaks due to the hard driven wind and rain, but nothing major,” stated one builder in Raleigh.

Many roads and bridges connecting into Wilmington and other parts of eastern North Carolina, however, remain closed due to heavy flooding and downed tree and power lines.

Homes sales in the affected areas will likely be stalled for at least a couple of months as insurance adjustors work through the thousands of claims pending from property owners that suffered wind and water damage.

A review of residential building permit data for the Wilmington region shows that close to 2,000 homes were under construction at the time that the Category 1 storm made landfall. Builders in the area say they expect there will be further delays in those completions as many of the contractors and subcontractors in the region will be more focused on repair and rebuilding work stemming from the storm.

Moody’s Analytics has estimated the economic cost of Hurricane Florence to be between $38 billion and $58 billion, including damage to property, vehicle loss and lost output, ranking it just behind Hurricane Andrew in 1992 among the U.S.’s biggest storms. Hurricane Harvey in the more populated Houston region in 2017, by comparison, cost about $130 billion.

Metrostudy’s partners at CoreLogic estimate that flood loss to residential and commercial properties in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia will top $19 billion.

The National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) has organized a fund to aid in the clean up and recovery efforts across the Carolinas. To learn more and donate, click here.