Realtors say rising flood insurance has made some homes impossible to sell. That's stalled the real estate recovery in some areas and has made homes that don't require flood insurance hot commodities.
Nancy Driver, a real estate agent in St. Petersburg, says she's turning down listings for homes that require flood insurance. She's also advertising homes that don't require the insurance. Instead of listing "pool" on the for sale sign, she's listing "no flood insurance required."
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"It's a huge selling point," Driver said. "That's the first thing buyers ask for when they call."
The change in demand is all because of a massive hike on flood insurance rates that's hitting thousands of homes in flood zones. A federal subsidy expired Oct. 1.
The national flood insurance program is 24-billion dollars in debt, so Congress voted to cancel the subsidy in order to get the program in better financial shape.
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Realtors, homeowners and politicians have signed petitions and are asking Congress to step in and at least postpone the rate hikes.
Realtor Chip Hall says he's trying to help a homeowner who needs to sell by getting upfront insurance quotes for prospective buyers. But with insurance that has more than doubled, it's a tough sell, and he fears his client will let the home fall into foreclosure.
"The banks are going to be setting with them, and they are going to have a lot of properties that cannot be sold," Hall said. "For a lot of young families, this will negatively affect their bottom line. and Shore Acres could potentially turn into a ghost town."
Watch Shannon Behnken's full report...tonight on WFLA News Channel 8 at 6pm.