South Florida’s Severe Flooding Delayed Real Estate Deals


Epic rain and flooding disrupted South Florida’s luxury real estate market this week, with agents forced to delay showings and closings.

“I was showing [a] house in Golden Beach, and the guy didn’t want to get his convertible Rolls Royce dirty, so he canceled,” said Nelson Gonzalez, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty. They pushed the showing to Monday, Gonzalez said.

Compass agents Chad Carroll and Nancy Batchelor both had showings canceled this week, and one of Carroll’s clients had their car flooded. 

Seemingly endless downpours made roads extremely treacherous in South Florida, where total rainfall since Tuesday reached more than 20 inches in some areas, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of I-95 as well as other streets were shut down on Wednesday, and hundreds if not thousands of cars were abandoned, stranded on roadways. Damages from the record rainfall are already estimated at over $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. 

Amid the torrential rain, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Miami-Dade, Broward, Lee, Collier and Sarasota counties on Wednesday. Miami-Dade and Broward county mayors also declared states of emergency. Flash flood warnings were issued throughout the region, and a flood watch remains in effect until at least 8 p.m. Friday

Real estate business didn’t halt altogether, though. Some homebuyers charged ahead on deals, undeterred. 

“We had two closings this week,” Batchelor said. “Nobody chose to postpone. It was a little bit more daunting — things didn’t look as pretty because it was pouring rain.”

Her buyers were lucky it wasn’t a named tropical storm or hurricane, which can be more severe than the rainstorm that hit South Florida this week, Batchelor said. Named storms can put closings on hold and create challenges for insuring homes. 

One couple Carroll is working with insisted on attending their planned showing of a condo, he said. They went into contract after touring it in the rain.

“They liked it without the view,” he said. “They’re going to love it with the view.”

None of the agents reported any major hiccups for clients securing flood insurance this week. Climate change is precipitating an increase in severity and frequency of storms in South Florida, making it one of the riskiest markets for insurance companies to serve, and one of the most expensive for homeowners who need insurance. 

“Insurance premiums are much higher than they have been in the past, but people have adjusted to it accordingly,” Carroll said. 

As this storm starts to wane and the floodwaters recede, the area’s luxury agents are carrying on. As Batchelor said, “It’s business as usual.”

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