Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas over the weekend, battering the region and surrounding states with record amounts of rainfall; over 30 inches fell in Swansboro, N.C. by Saturday, Sept. 15, as reported by the National Weather Service. Sources report at least 32 people have died from weather-related events; however, this number could increase as water levels continue to rise in some areas.
Moody’s Analytics reports that property damage from Hurricane Florence is estimated at $17 – $22 billion, a conservative forecast depending on further flooding. Additionally, the flooding has created housing shortages for displaced North Carolinians. According to the Wall Street Journal, Florence heavily impacted some of the state’s smaller cities, such as Wilmington and Fayetteville, which have less than 1,500 empty apartment units each, as reported by research firm RealPage Inc. This could introduce challenges for the thousands of North Carolinians that are searching for temporary housing.
North Carolina residents in the following counties—Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Dublin, Harnett, Jones, Lenoir, Robeson, Samson and Wayne—may be eligible for FEMA disaster assistance. In North Carolina, $47,282 dollars have been approved for individual assistance, with $39,778 going toward housing-related aid.
How will the real estate industry respond? According to realtor.com, the hurricane could create a months-long stall in home sales and construction. Local real estate associations are already playing an active role in donation-based aid.
For example, South Carolina REALTORS® is taking donations, which will go toward providing relief to those that have been affected.
“If you want to help with hurricane recovery efforts, please donate to the REALTOR® Foundation. Go to screaltors.org/realtorfoundationand donate today.”
“NC REALTORS® recognizes the great state of North Carolina has been devastated by Hurricane Florence. While no one will really grasp the full extent of the damage for days—or even weeks due to active flooding and wind damage—NC REALTORS® is working diligently to respond to our member needs and the needs of our communities,” said a statement on the NC REALTORS® site. “We know the needs are great, even daunting, and we are collaborating with the National Association of REALTORS® and the NC REALTORS® Housing Foundation, which are preparing a coordinated housing assistance response. Meanwhile, members and staff are working to get immediate help and supplies into impacted areas. Staff will update our website when NC REALTORS® supply distribution centers are available in your area.”