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NYC Tops Cities With Most Possible Property Damage Impact Ahead Of Expected Busy 2022 Hurricane Season

Density, coastal proximity and the high cost of real estate mean the New York City metro area is expected to have the highest financial risk for hurricane property damage in the country ahead of the coming storm season, according to new data.

Flooding in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Around 786,279 New York City single-family homes are at risk for storm surge damage this hurricane season, which could cost an estimated $369.9B, according to the 2022 Hurricane Report from CoreLogic. Wind damage may put 3.8 million houses at risk, with an estimated nearly $2T in damage.

Far fewer multifamily properties are expected to be at risk, however, with 109,317 multifamily houses at risk for storm surge damage in New York City and 459,184 for wind damage.

Among large cities, Miami, Boston and Tampa follow New York City in terms of greatest risk for multifamily home storm surge damage, while Washington, D.C., Boston and Miami are high on the list for hurricane wind damage this season.

"NYC’s prolific coastal real estate and unique geography puts it at or near the top of the list for areas with the most hurricane risk. This is true even though major hurricanes happen less frequently in the Northeast than they do in the Gulf and Southeast," CoreLogic Vice President of Hazard and Risk Management Maiclaire Bolton Smith told Bisnow in an email.

"As we’ve learned from Hurricane Sandy, if a storm makes landfall in just the wrong location, the entire coast experiences surge inundation due to the triangular New York Bight that channels surge water inward. Additionally, we learned from hurricane-turned-Tropical Storm Ida last year that the NYC metro area is not equipped to handle large sea or rain water inundation.”

The 2022 hurricane season began June 1, and CoreLogic expects about 14 to 21 named storms this year, and about three to six major hurricanes.

“This hurricane season could be particularly severe for the U.S. Gulf Coast due to warmer-than-average Atlantic Ocean temperatures, an ongoing La Niña, and a stronger than average loop current in the Gulf of Mexico,” Core Logic Chief Meteorologist Daniel Betten said in a release. “Although La Niña events typically occur once every three years, this fall will likely be the fifth La Nina event over the last seven years.”

After New York City, the Miami metro area is most at risk in the CoreLogic report, with about 770,000 single-family and multifamily homes and close to $433B in reconstruction costs at risk of storm surge damage and more than 2 million homes and $521B at stake in wind damage reconstruction costs. 

At the state level, Florida, Louisiana and New York have the greatest number of homes at risk of storm surge damage. Texas is at the top of the list for hurricane wind risk with more than 8.8 million homes in jeopardy.

Last year was the third-most-active and third-costliest hurricane season on record, with Hurricane Ida notably hitting Louisiana last summer.

Climate change is only making hurricanes stronger and more costly for homeowners, according to CoreLogic, which predicts that the insurance industry will see more financial implications than ever because wind damage, a typical source of hurricane damage, is covered by standard homeowners' insurance, while flood insurance is frequently not covered by those outside of Federal Emergency Management Agency-identified Special Flood Hazard Areas.

"With ocean temperatures rising, scientists predict that we should expect more frequent and destructive tropical cyclone activity," the report states. "Homeowners and regional public agency leaders should recognize the need for more resilient city infrastructure and increased financial protection from catastrophe."

New York City ranks highest on the list partly because of the importance of population density in determining risk assessment; CoreLogic states that densely populated metros are more susceptible to damage. CoreLogic also noted high-rise apartments are less at risk for storm surge damage, which may skew multifamily figures. The data only considers properties that are estimated to be completely destroyed in a storm.

As anxiety mounts over the future of coastal cities amid the growing threat of climate change, the real estate industry is trying to catch up with guarding cities from floods and wind, even far away from the hurricane-prone Southeast.

Flooding in New York City last year cost the state around $3B to $4.6B, Bisnow reported previously, years after Hurricane Sandy caused $19B in damages.