HUD Wants Minimum Elevation Rule for FHA Homes

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."

FHA mortgages

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.

© 2016 Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.

1 reply
  1. George Edward Chuddy
    George Edward Chuddy says:

    The Palm Coast Projects’ Elevations…

    The Palm Coast Project, comprised of 93,000 acres of Palm Coast Community Lands was designed and engineered to withstand a 100 year Flood…

    D. Pollutants in Drainage and Stormwater Runoff
    Studies: Studies were conducted to determine the characteristics of fertilizers (e.g. phosphates, nitrates) that contribute least to nutrient runoff into surface water bodies. The ultimate goal is to prevent eutrophication. Specific products were recommended which are capable of releasing nutrients at a controlled rate; these were preferred over the water soluble types, which release nutrients at a very rapid rate on water contact. All available data were gathered to determine the extent and degree of pollutant concerntrations found in stormwater runoff from urban areas. Data indicate that runoff contains significant concentration of BOD , suspended solids, nutrients, and dissolved solids.
    Soil erosion control technology was reviewed with regard to minimizing the effects of sediment runoof during construction when natural vegetative covers are removed and soil is exposed to water impact and scour energy. Alternative methods and/or practices are: (1) minimization of length of exposure time for unprotected grades areas, (2) soil treatment, seeding and mulching, or mulching alone, (3) interceptor dikes, (4) diversion dikes, (5) sediment traps. It was recommended that ll of the methods studies should be applied to Palm Coast and incorporated wherever possible in design aof the drainage system in order to retard water movement as much as possible.
    Solutions: whereas conventional techniques have aimed at rapid movement and disposal of rainwater from a given site,—–> the present
    Page 135

    being utilized in the layout, spacing, and geometry of the dredged canal systems and in establishing minimum homesite elevations.——- (2) Shallow canal depths of eight feet were selected in order to maximize turbulence and eliminate the possibility of stratification. Therefore, dissolved oxygen levels are maintained throughout the entire depth.
    F. Operation, and Maintenance of Canals to Perpetuate Water Quality and Aesthetics…

    …L. Beach and Sand Dune Preservation

    Studies: Historical records of the tide information regarding hurricanes and northeast storms were accumulated. Historiclal Beach dynamics were summarized, isolating the littoral drift, which apparently is to the south during most of the year and to the north during the summer. These data indicate that at Matanzas Inlet there is considerable drift into the waterway. Accompanying this report are the records on what happened at St Augustine Beach and Crescent Beach during the Hurricane Dora, along with storm winde and swell diagrams obtained from the Corps of Engineers.
    Solutions. —–> Minimum building elevations were set based on the data obtained. Aerial photogrpahs taken in 1943 were compared with current photographs to determine the amount of beach erosion in this area. —-> Dr. Per Bruun of the Technical University of Norway , at Trondheim, was retained to coordinate this data and to make recommendations for construction <------in beachfront areas. Efforts will be made to preserve and protect existing sand dunes. Indiscriminate construction will be precluded by setting all structures back at prescribed limits. Recreational activities on the dunes will be monitored to insure that vegetaive systems are preserved. 1972, '...An Approach to a New City: Palm Coast...' Dr. J. Norman Young and Dea, Stanley. pp. 135, 138.

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