For the first time in nearly 40 years, HUD wants to create higher elevation requirements for properties seeking HUD assistance or Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance
PALM COAST, FL – November 1, 2016 – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed elevation standards for all HUD-supported properties "in the face of increased flooding risks and rising sea levels."
For the first time in nearly 40 years, HUD wants to create higher elevation requirements for properties seeking HUD assistance or Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance. HUD's proposed rule is posted online.
HUD's proposed rule would:
″ Require "non-critical" properties to be elevated two-feet above the site's base flood elevation (also called 100-year floodplain), a term commonly used in floodplain management.
″ Properties considered "critical," such as hospitals, nursing homes, and police/fire facilities, would have to be elevated three feet above the base flood elevation or the 500-year floodplain, whichever is greater.
"Our nation is faced with mounting and compelling evidence that future flooding events will be increasingly costly and frequent," says HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "If we're serious about protecting people and property from flooding, we have to think differently than we did 40 years ago. Today we begin the process of aligning our regulations with the evidence to make sure taxpayer dollars are invested in the most responsible and resilient manner possible."
The National Association of Home Builders quickly condemned HUD's proposed rule.
"This proposed rule from HUD regarding implementation of President Obama's executive order on floodplain management will severely disrupt the housing market and harm affordability for millions of Americans living in areas that are designated under an expanded floodplain definition, where in many cases the odds of facing a flood event are extremely remote," says NAHB Chairman Ed Brady. "Moreover, HUD has vastly overstepped its bounds by proposing new rules that are inconsistent with the requirements for new construction under the National Flood Insurance Program."
The proposed rule would revise HUD's minimum property standards for single-family homes with mortgages insured by FHA and for public housing developments.
If the proposed rule is approved, the lowest floor in newly constructed and substantially improved structures in the 100-year floodplain must be built at least two feet above the base flood elevation to qualify for FHA mortgage financing.
Elevation standards for manufactured housing receiving mortgage insurance are not covered in the proposed rule.
HUD says that U.S. flooding events have resulted in more than $260 billion in damages since 1980; and that in the past year, the U.S. has had two "once-in-a-thousand-year floods" and several 500-year events with 38 Presidentially declared major disasters.
The National Climate Assessment (May 2014) projects that extreme weather events, such as severe flooding, will persist throughout the 21st century causing significant damage to infrastructure.
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