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Coastal Flood Risk in the Mortgage Market: Storm Surge Models' Predictions vs. Flood Insurance Maps

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  • Amine Ouazad

Abstract

Prior literature has argued that flood insurance maps may not capture the extent of flood risk. This paper performs a granular assessment of coastal flood risk in the mortgage market by using physical simulations of hurricane storm surge heights instead of using FEMA's flood insurance maps. Matching neighborhood-level predicted storm surge heights with mortgage files suggests that coastal flood risk may be large: originations and securitizations in storm surge areas have been rising sharply since 2012, while they remain stable when using flood insurance maps. Every year, more than 50 billion dollars of originations occur in storm surge areas outside of insurance floodplains. The share of agency mortgages increases in storm surge areas, yet remains stable in the flood insurance 100-year floodplain. Mortgages in storm surge areas are more likely to be complex: non-fully amortizing features such as interest-only or adjustable rates. Households may also be more vulnerable in storm surge areas: median household income is lower, the share of African Americans and Hispanics is substantially higher, the share of individuals with health coverage is lower. Price-to-rent ratios are declining in storm surge areas while they are increasing in flood insurance areas. This paper suggests that uncovering future financial flood risk requires scientific models that are independent of the flood insurance mapping process.

Suggested Citation

  • Amine Ouazad, 2020. "Coastal Flood Risk in the Mortgage Market: Storm Surge Models' Predictions vs. Flood Insurance Maps," Papers 2006.02977, arXiv.org, revised Jun 2020.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:2006.02977
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    References listed on IDEAS

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