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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently proposed a new “resilience standard” that aims to impose higher elevation requirements for federally supported properties, including those insured through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The proposed rule would require “non-critical” properties, such as single-family houses, to be elevated two feet above the site’s base flood elevation (100-year floodplain).

“Our nation is faced with mounting and compelling evidence that future flooding events will be increasingly costly and frequent,” says HUD Secretary Julián Castro. “If we’re serious about protecting people and property from flooding, we have to think differently than we did 40 years ago. Today we begin the process of aligning our regulations with the evidence to make sure taxpayer dollars are invested in the most responsible and resilient manner possible.”

To accommodate the proposed rule, HUD’s Minimum Property Standards would be revised to require the lowest floor in new or “substantially improved” federally supported properties within the 100-year floodplain be two feet above base flood elevation.

The action has been met with concern by the housing industry.

“This proposed rule from HUD regarding implementation of President Obama’s executive order on floodplain management will severely disrupt the housing market and harm affordability for millions of Americans living in areas that are designated under an expanded floodplain definition, where in many cases the odds of facing a flood event are extremely remote,” said Ed Brady, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. “Moreover, HUD has vastly overstepped its bounds by proposing new rules that are inconsistent with the requirements for new construction under the National Flood Insurance Program.

“HUD must stick to the original intent of the president’s executive order by stipulating that expanded floodplain rules only apply to federally funded projects, and not unnecessarily expand this definition by imposing costly requirements on the FHA multifamily and single-family mortgage insurance programs,” Brady said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) proposed similar requirements this summer, part and parcel with the Obama Administration’s executive order to develop new flood protection standards for federally supported properties.

Learn more about HUD’s proposed rule here.

For more information, please visit www.hud.gov.

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