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Flood insurance premiums could devastate housing market

11:23 PM, Sep 30, 2013   |    comments
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Hudson, Florida - On Tuesday, October 1, 2013, the Flood insurance Reform Act goes into effect. It's designed to replenish a $20 billion FEMA shortfall. But some say the huge increase in flood insurance premiums homeowners will be forced to pay will make the housing market crash look like a walk in the park.

The "For Sale" sign in front of David Riegle's dream house in Hudson says pending because he just learned he can no longer afford the home, which comes complete with a pool table and a pool. It sits on a salt water canal along Driftwood Drive.

Riegle says, "This house is in perfect shape, but what can you do when they want $43,000 ?"

He was set to close on the home on October 7, but says there's no way he can afford the flood insurance premiums. "All I wanted to do was fish, catch my dinner, and hang out on my Jimmy Buffet deck."

Monday evening may have been the last time the disabled veteran and his family walked through the house. Reigle says, "So I don't know what the government is trying to do here, because these houses are going right back to the banks."

Connie Nies agrees, saying, "It just doesn't make sense."

Nies is the real estate agent who represents the seller who lives in Jacksonville.

Nies says, "Her words to me is 'I won't be able to pay. I can't pay $4,000 a month for insurance.'"

Nies says the seller has already reached out to Congressman Gus Bilirakis for help. Bilirakis sent one his representatives, Summer Robertson, to talk one-on-one with concerned homeowners in Holiday on Monday evening.

Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey organized the town hall meeting to talk about several issues, including the skyrocketing flood insurance premiums. Starkey says despite the county sending out letters to residents who will be impacted, most have no idea what's in store.

Starkey says, "We're just starting to have a recovery and now here we're socked with this."

Commissioner Starkey says concerned homeowners really need to get informed to find out if this will impact them and if it does she says you should call your senator as soon as possible.

Wondering if you're in a high risk flood zone? Look up your area on one of the maps provided by Bay Area counties:

Don't see your county? CLICK to search your address on the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) official Map Service Center.

Once you find the map for your area, use FEMA's "Definitions of FEMA Flood Zone Designations" to better understand what it's showing.

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