Posts Tagged ‘Miami’

2012 CoreLogic Storm Surge Report Contains Some Surprises

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Which American city is at the greatest financial risk from a hurricane?  If you think it’s New Orleans or Miami, you’re wrong.  According to CoreLogic, a data analysis firm, it’s New York City that is at the greatest risk, both from the number of properties impacted and the dollar value of the damage.  The area also includes Long Island and northern New Jersey.

“The summer of 2011 gave us some startling insight into the damage that even a weak storm can cause in the New York City metro area,” CoreLogic vice president Howard Botts said.  “Hurricane Irene was downgraded to a tropical storm as it passed through New Jersey and New York City, but the impact of the storm was still estimated at as much as $6 billion.  Economic losses mounted swiftly as businesses shuttered, the New York City mass transit system came to a sudden halt and emergency response teams were called into action to prepare for the worst.”

A hurricane is more likely to make landfall in Miami than New York, according to Colorado State University research.  The odds are 5.3 percent for Miami and 0.2 percent for New York City.  Fast forward a half century in the future and the odds rise to 95.5 percent for Miami and 6.6 percent for New York.  Despite the discrepancy in numbers, the risk exists, especially from flooding.  While most people associate hurricane damage with wind, the storm surge from rising waters caused by cyclones has the greatest impact.

That fact became evident to residents of the northeast after last summer’s Hurricane Irene.  Although the insured impact of Irene on New York City was relatively mild, one of the insurance industry’s nightmares has always been a major hurricane traveling up the Hudson River and striking the city and its suburbs.  Some estimates believe that an event of this magnitude could cause $100 billion just in insured losses, with economic damage greater than that.  According to CoreLogic estimates, the property at risk in the New York City area is worth some $168 billion.

Core Logic said that more than four million homes in the United States are at risk from hurricane-related flood damage, with more than $700 billion in property potentially vulnerable.  There are 2.2 million homes worth more than $500 billion at risk along the Atlantic coast; another 1.8 million homes worth $200 billion are imperiled along the Gulf coast.  Approximately 35 percent of the at-risk homes are in Florida and another 12 percent or so in Louisiana, the firm said.  In terms of value of property, more than 40 percent of the risk is concentrated in Florida and New York.

The 2012 CoreLogic Storm Surge report provides the first-ever analysis of residential property hurricane risk along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts broken down by region and by state, as well as a snapshot of the risk by metro areas.

Though more frequently impacted states like Florida, Texas and Louisiana get the most attention when it comes to hurricane vulnerability and destruction, Hurricane Irene made it very clear last summer that hurricane risk is not confined to the southern parts of the country,” Botts said.  “That’s why we felt it was important this year to highlight storm-surge risk in a brand new way to establish a better understanding of exposure throughout the states that are most at risk of a direct hurricane hit.  As we got a glimpse of during Irene, our 2012 report shows even a Category 1 storm could cause property damage in the billions along the northeastern Atlantic Coast and force major metropolitan areas to shut down or evacuate.”

CoreLogic created its Storm Surge Report to improve understanding of the risk that it poses to homes in areas prone to tropical storms.  Storm surge is triggered by the high winds and low barometric pressure associated with hurricanes, which cause water to mass inside a storm as it moves across the ocean before releasing as a powerful rush overland when the hurricane moves onshore.

“The data we compile is useful for insurance providers and financial services companies, to help them better understand potential exposure to damage for homes — particularly those that do not fall into designated FEMA Special Flood Hazard Areas,” Botts said.  “Homeowners who live outside of high risk flood zones are not required to carry flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and may not be fully aware of the risk storm surge poses to their home or property.  When a storm strikes the coast, storm-surge flooding can inundate homes far inland and cause significant losses from powerful surge waters, damaging debris and standing water left behind.”

Foreclosures Decline, But Expect a Spike Thanks to Banks Settlement

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Foreclosure filings declined eight percent in February, the smallest year-over-year decrease since October 2010, as lenders began working through a backlog of seized properties, according to RealtyTrac Inc. A total of 206,900 homes received notices of default, auction or repossession last month, down two percent from January, according to the data firm, which noted that one in every 637 households received a filing.  Those numbers could rise sharply in coming months.

Banks slowed foreclosures for more than a year as attorneys general in every state investigated charges of shoddy and incomplete paperwork.  A $25 billion settlement with the five largest lenders removed some roadblocks to property seizures and gave the go-ahead for future actions, Brandon Moore, RealtyTrac’s chief executive officer, said.  “February’s numbers point to a gradually rising foreclosure tide.  That should result in more states posting annual increases in the coming months.”

“The pig is starting to move through the python,” said Daren Blomquist, RealtyTrac’s director of marketing.  The banks “have already adjusted their foreclosure practices to fit the terms of the settlement.  We expect that to continue as (the settlement) gets finalized,” Blomquist said.

The settlement clarifies the way in which foreclosures must be handled.  That is expected to let banks speed up their processing, putting many delinquent homeowners into the foreclosure process.  Cases could move forward after being on hold for months — even years — with their delinquent owners still living illegally in the properties.

“The foreclosure and mortgage settlement filed in court earlier this week will help pave the way to a properly functioning foreclosure process by providing a clear roadmap for necessary foreclosures,” Moore continued.  “That should result in more states posting annual increases in the coming months.  Not surprisingly, many of the biggest annual increases in February were in states with the more bureaucratic judicial foreclosure process, which resulted in a larger backlog of foreclosures built up over the last 18 months in those states.”

Cities with the highest foreclosure rates were Riverside-San Bernardino in California (one in 166 housing units); Atlanta (one in 244); Phoenix (one in 259); Miami (one in 264); and Chicago (one in 302).

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of the Inspector General’s report found that several banks violated servicing standards and foreclosure procedures and engaged in extensive robo signing.  The banks agreed to follow new servicing standards and offer relief to borrowers by providing $10 billion in principal reductions, $3 billion in refinancing loans and $7 billion in alternatives to foreclosure.  Foreclosures in the 26 states with a judicial foreclosure process rose 24 percent over last year, while activity in the 24 states that follow a non-judicial foreclosure process fell by 23 percent

Default notices, the initial step in the foreclosure process increased more than 20 percent in 12 states, including Hawaii, Maryland, Connecticut, South Carolina, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Florida.  State attorneys general have filed lawsuits against major lenders in New York, California and Nevada in recent months, further slowing the pace of foreclosures in those states.

1111 Lincoln Road Parking Garage Turning Heads in Miami Beach

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Miami Beach garage adds a new twist to finding a parking space.  That eye-catching new building in Miami Beach is not an avant garde hotel but a unique twist on the utilitarian parking garage, with retail on the first floor. Officially known as 1111 Lincoln Road, the garage designed by the Swiss architectural firm of Herzog & de Meuron has seven exposed concrete slabs supported – at first glance rather perilously – by tilted concrete columns.  The structure rises 125 feet from its ground-floor retail to a 5,200 SF penthouse with a sloping terrace.  The building was developed by Robert Wennett, who says that the geometrical dimension makes it seem like minimalist art.  “The idea was it should not look or feel like a garage,” Wennett said.

Thanks to the building’s striking architecture, it was featured in “House of Cars:  Innovation and the Parking Garage” exhibition at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.  Additional garages in the exhibition were designed by such luminaries as Frank Lloyd Wright, Paul Rudolph and Miami-based Arquitectonica.  Terence Riley, who previously was director of the Miami Art Museum, said the Herzog garage is a “chance to show Miami Beach that important architecture doesn’t have to be Art Deco.”

An interesting aside is found in the 2005 transaction in which Wennett acquired the site, which then was occupied by an office building.  At that time, Miami Beach zooming regulations would have allowed him to construct a 50,000 SF building.  Because parking is so tight in Miami Beach, however, the city doesn’t include the majority of parking spaces in a building’s square footage for zoning purposes.  By adding parking, Wennett significantly increased the building’s square footage and created an impressive structure that is attracting upscale users to its 13 retail and four restaurant spaces.

Housing Prices Decline Sharply During July

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Housing prices in the United States plunged a record 16.3 percent during July, compared with the previous year.  According to Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Home Price Indexes, this indicates an ongoing home-price decline now in its second year.

The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas declined 0.9 percent in July, when compared with June.  That represents a 19.5 percent decline since the housing boom peaked in July of 2006.  According to S&P, the composite index of 10 metropolitan areas fell 1.1 percent in July, representing a 17.5 percent year-over-year decline.  Compared with 2006, the index is down 21.1 percent.

“There are signs of a slowdown in the rate of decline across the metro areas, but no evidence of a bottom,” said David Blitzer, chairman of S&P’s index committee.  Economists see declining home prices -as a result of foreclosures – as one of the biggest threats to America’s financial system and economic growth.

Declines on Las Vegas – the nation’s weakest housing market – hit 29.9 percent compared with last year, and 34.3 percent when compared with its August of 2006 peak, according to S&P.  Yearly declines for Phoenix and Miami were 29.3 percent and 28.2 percent in July, respectively.