Tampa Bay is bracing for what could be crippling flood insurance rates, if Congress does not act soon to keep the subsidy in place.
We spoke with frustrated homeowners Tracy Harvey and Kurt Schmidt in Ballast Point, an area where the property values have not rebounded entirely from the crash.
"The last figure that I recall was around $700 a year, maybe $1,400 a year," said Harvey. "I'm kind of grey about what it is, because most of it's set-up in an escrow and I don't sit and look at that paperwork all the time, like most everybody else, who's facing the same crisis right now."
"So, what if we lose the subsidy and suddenly you get a notice in the mail, that says, we need something, twenty grand out of you to cover your next hit of flood insurance, what would you say to that," we asked him.
"I'd be pretty disgusted," he said. "You can't have a mortgage without the flood insurance, right?," we asked. "Correct," he replied.
Harvey says if he can't pay the flood insurance, he'll be stuck.
"Because I still owe on my mortgage, you gotta have the coverage, I'd really be stuck between a rock and a hard place," he said.
"With one heavy rain, we're under water," said Harvey as he led us to his backyard. "We're practically flooded every heavy rain we get."
Schmidt says he is financially underwater.
"Ballast Point is still depressed under what Florida market values, are still not to what I paid for it," Schmidt said. "I think Fannie Mae thinks this is worth about [$130,000] and I currently owe about 155-ish."
"So, if you went to sell it today, could you, with that extra number tacked on top?" we asked Harvey. "That'd probably kill the deal," he said.
John Hudson is a realtor who recently purchased a home in a flood zone in Beach Park, but said he's not worried about the potential hike. He thoroughly believes Congress will do something in the 11th hour to stave off any problems with continuing the subsidy.
"The economy has been on the rebound for some time, and I think that there's a lot of positive things right now, a lot of demand, still a great time to sell, very low inventory, and we're still seeing homes going into contract within a week of being out there listed on the market."
Hudson predicts older properties built on low ground will be sold, bulldozed, replaced with ones that are built higher. In the meantime, he says the only way to know for sure what your situation is, is to hire a surveyor.
"You need to pay the $75.00, get the elevation certificate, and see what that number is, because they can't tell you anything about what the rate is going to be over the phone without that number."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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