Hurricane Dorian seems determined to set its own path. The storm stalled over the Bahamas as a Category 5, devastating the island chain, and has now shifted north. Instead of making landfall in Florida, the National Hurricane Center said it expects Dorian to scrape the U.S. southeast coast.
That change has put an additional $220 billion of residential real estate in danger. The hurricane shifted between Category 2 and Category 3 during Wednesday night and Thursday morning. By Friday at 8 a.m. it should be off North Carolina’s Outer Banks as a Category 2 storm with sustained winds of 100 miles an hour, according to government forecasts.
“Hurricane Dorian’s change in direction has shifted the risk spotlight toward a broader residential real estate path, encompassing $1.7 trillion this week, up from a projected $1.5 trillion when it was expected to make landfall along the Florida coast,” said George Ratiu, a senior economist for realtor.com. “While the storm intensity has been downgraded, it remains a serious threat.”
Dorian now is expected to skirt Florida’s east coast and head up toward the Carolinas where it has the potential to impact 21 coastal metros totaling 6.6 million households, realtor.com estimated. That’s $1.72 trillion worth of residential real estate, up from $1.5 trillion the real estate website estimated last week when Dorian was expected to make landfall in Florida.
“We expect to see a significant disruption to national home sales and construction if the storm continues on its current trajectory,” Ratiu said. “At a state level, we could see broad economic impacts as extensive property damage could add pressure to already limited housing inventory conditions in Florida and the Carolinas. With mandatory evacuations already in place, several coastal markets have already experienced a decline in tourism and hotel demand.”