SARASOTA, FL -- Lawmakers will go on holiday break without a vote to delay flood insurance rate increases for millions of homeowners; news that many across the Suncoast find troubling.
"I'm a little disappointed that they weren't able to delay it," said Homeowner RC Johnson. He's referring to lawmakers efforts to prevent the drastic increase many homeowners are seeing on their flood insurance rates.
"Some people down near the water were paying $5,000 and now they want them to pay $40,000."
The Flood Insurance Reform Act did away with the government insurance subsidy for those insured by the national flood insurance program. Since October, homeowners have been getting notices about the increase. In most cases people will pay an additional 25% for the next 5 years or until they are paying the full unsubsidized rate. A move that many say will do more than just impact a homeowners monthly income.
"I had a closing today where the current owner was paying $2,900 in flood premium and the new calculated rate for a potential buyer was $9,100."
Insurance agent Florence Conlan says the rate change killed that deal. A trend she thinks will continue and eventually have a negative effect on the real estate market.
"It really is very crippling especially for a slow recovering real estate market, homes are not going to be selling. Someone is going to be looking at a home that they can afford the flood insurance rates on."
In addition, Conlan says the rate hike could help push more people in to foreclosure. And, while Johnson isn't at the point, he still not happy with the increases.
"I could see going up 15 to 20 percent or something like that but not doubling the cost, " added Johnson.