Hampton Roads home prices drop following severe weather event, research shows

Flooding in the Creeds section of Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Fire Department)
Flooding in the Creeds section of Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Fire Department)

As the peak of hurricane season approaches, Hampton Roads residents know they’re at risk from falling trees. According to new research, home values in the area tumble after a major storm, too.

A new study released from Old Dominion University shows that housing prices decline by about 5 percent for properties in either low- or high-risk flood zones in Hampton Roads following a severe weather event.

Properties within high-risk flood zones remained on the market for around five to eight days longer than properties not in a flood zone.

The report examined residential housing prices and time-on-market following a 2009 Nor’easter and Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Timothy Komarek, assistant professor of economics who led the study, said waterfront home values weren’t affected as much by a severe storm as those in low-risk areas.

RELATED STORY: Here are some safety tips on cleaning up after flooding

“It wasn’t homes in the higher-risk areas, it was the next-level risk,” Komarek said. “If you live next to the water, you assume flooding will be an issue. Surprisingly, the bigger drop we saw was in the second-tier market.”

Houses in both high- and low-risk flood zones remained on the market longer after a major storm.

RELATED STORY: Virginia urges residents to prepare for hurricane season, extreme weather events

Komarek’s advice for those about to list homes during the peak of hurricane season? Wait.

“The timing of things can matter. If you don’t need to sell right after a flood event then you might want to hold off a bit,” he said “People in the area change their expectation about what they will pay after a big storm.”

If you can’t wait, there are still changes a homeowner can make to maximize selling potential.

“People can do little things like install flood vents,” Komarek said. “If they can show potential buyers that their premiums are lower that can help a lot.”

Other researchers from ODU involved in the study include associate vice president for entrepreneurship and economic development Larry Filer and graduate research assistant Jennifer Seay.

Timothy Hodge, assistant professor of economics at Oakland University, and J. Derek Loftis, assistant research scientist for the Center of Coastal Resources Management Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William & Mary, also aided in the project.

Komarek’s next work involves the health effects of recurrent flooding, like mold- induced asthma, in lower-income neighborhoods.

RELATED STORY: This interactive tool allows you to ‘know your zone’ in the event of a storm

He enjoys working on studies that benefit his community.

“There’s been a concerted effort by ODU to be a national expert on sea-level rise and coastal resilience,” he said. “We involve experts from every area of campus and we’ve really created a name for ourselves. It’s great that this excellent academic center can inform our neighbors and the rest of the people in the region.”

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.