This week, hundreds of homeowners in a neighborhood community over the age of 55, aka Century Villagein Pembroke Pines, Florida, gathered together to protest an increase in the monthly housing fee due to rising insurance costs, as many insurance companies flee the state.
Century Village homeowners have been emailed that they have to pay an additional $100 to $200 per month due to “high insurance premiums,” adding a possible private appraisal of some units, according to NBC6, a local South Florida television news outlet was the first to report the incident. Footage shown in the TV clip shows several residents huddled together, clearly upset and screaming (although it’s unclear what exactly they’re saying). But the protest appears to have escalated and the police have been called. However, a resident told NBC6 reporter Laura Rodriguez that the increase in costs is forcing him to sell his house.
“So now we’re over $700 a month that we’re just paying in HOA fees, and they’re going to bring it up to $1,000 a month,” one resident told the reporter. “We have no choice, we have to sell. As a matter of fact, I put my house on the market 10 minutes ago.”
Century Village did not immediately respond to luckComment request.
Florida’s housing markets have seen significant home price increases during the pandemic, and are still seeing increases in most cases. That is coupled with mortgage rates that have more than doubled, with a fixed rate average of 30 years hit recently a 20-year high, worsening affordability. But now there is a new force pressuring housing affordability, and that is rising insurance costs.
Florida homeowners pay the highest insurance premiums in the country, averaging $6,000 in premiums annually, according to Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications at the Florida-based Insurance Information Institute. For comparison, the US averages $1,700 per year. And recently, many home insurance companies have either pulled out of the state, like Farmers Insurance, or have chosen to renew fewer policies, like AAA—and that’s making it harder for homeowners to find coverage, or even afford it, Wealth Previously mentioned.
“In the past 18 months alone, 15 companies have ceased writing business in Florida. Three companies have voluntarily withdrawn — the farmers the most recent — and seven companies have been declared insolvent,” Friedlander recently explained to luck, Before AAA said it would reduce its presence in Florida, rather than pull out entirely as Farmers Insurance announced its plan to do so.
There are several factors behind the state’s insurance exodus that range from claims fraud to an increase in claims after the recent hurricanes to an increase in reinsurance rates. All of which essentially raise costs for insurance companies, which in turn increases costs for policyholders. However, we see that some insurers simply choose to leave the state, and that makes it harder for homeowners to find coverage, and makes that coverage more expensive.
Insurance concerns are already affecting Florida’s housing market, with a recent survey of homebuilders showing that buyers’ concerns about the availability and affordability of insurance are slowing sales somewhat, which are likely to get worse.
This story originally appeared on Fortune.com
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