South Florida by the Numbers: Hurricane Irma’s long-term impact

MidKey West and the Master Brokers Forum logo
MidKey West and the Master Brokers Forum logo

“South Florida By The Numbers” is a web feature that catalogues the most notable, quirky and surprising real estate statistics.

Irma gerd! Back in September, we examined the immediate impact of Hurricane Irma on South Florida business and real estate with a general sense of relief, having avoided the anticipated direct hit.

Months later, we have a much clearer sense of the storm’s long-term structural and economic impact, and the numbers are bleak. In addition to 42 storm-related deaths, Irma caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage in Florida alone – especially to the Keys.

But Florida tourism is bouncing back this winter, and it appears that building codes put in place after Hurricane Andrew have greatly reduced structural vulnerability to high winds. Let’s take one more look back at the biggest story of 2017 in this edition of South Florida by the Numbers.

$1 trillion
Estimated exposure value in counties running along Florida’s Gulf Coast up to Tampa — the areas hit hardest by Irma – according to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide. [TRD]

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$6.9 million
Additional costs to repair and renovate the Miami Beach Convention Center after the hurricane and torrential August rains. The need to cut out and replace drywall, remove mold, and install new ceiling tiles and light fixtures pushed the project’s budget from $619.9 million to $626.8 million. [Miami Herald]

Anticipated final number of windstorm-associated insurance claims (totaling $1.2 billion in damages) filed with Citizens Property Insurance, Florida’s insurer of last resort. As of early December, Miami-Dade County policyholders had filed 24,019 claims with Citizens and Broward County reported 9,341. Florida Keys residents had filed 9,063 claims, or roughly 15% of the total number of claims. [Florida Keys News]

Despite Hurricane Irma, the year-over-year increase in Miami hotel occupancy as of mid-November. Miami appears to have benefitted from numerous travelers who shifted their destinations from Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean severely impacted by the hurricane. [CNBC]

Percentage of available Islamorada hotel rooms as of mid-December, just ahead of the Keys’ busy tourist season. Islamorada was hit much harder than other Florida Keys destinations. In Marathon, only 50 percent of the hotel rooms are available. However, other areas fared much better. In Key West, 90 percent of its hotels are back online. In Key Largo, 76 percent are operating. [TRD]

This column is produced by the Master Brokers Forum, a network of South Florida’s elite real estate professionals where membership is by invitation only and based on outstanding production, as well as ethical and professional behavior.