More than 6.5 million homes along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at risk for damage from hurricane-driven storm surge, with the potential cost to rebuild approaching $1.5 trillion, according to a new report from CoreLogic, a global analytics firm headquartered in Irvine, Calif.
More than $986 billion of the risk is concentrated within 15 major metropolitan areas, and many of the at-risk homes lack insurance protection for storm surge damage.
The states with the most at-risk homes are:
- Florida: 2.5 million homes
- Louisiana: 738,165 homes
- New York: 466,919 homes
- New Jersey: 445,928 homes
- Texas: 434,421 homes
The coastal states with the lowest number of properties at risk are the District of Columbia, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island and Delaware.
The potential cost of rebuilding at-risk homes is highest in Florida, where the potential exposure tops $490 billion, and New York, where the potential exposure is almost $182.5 billion. Louisiana comes in at No. 3 with potential exposure totaling $161 billion, followed by New Jersey, with $134.2 billion in exposed property, and Virginia, where the potential exposure tops $92 billion.
Although no hurricanes made landfall along the U.S. coast in 2013, and forecasts call for lower-than-normal storm activity for the 2014 hurricane season, the risk for major damage to homes is a constant threat, CoreLogic said.
"This reprieve from hurricane-related damage should not lead to complacency in preparing for future storms and the potential life-threatening conditions they can bring," Thomas Jeffery, senior hazard scientist for CoreLogic Spatial Solutions, said in a press statement. "The early arrival of Hurricane Arthur on July 3 is an important reminder that even a low-category hurricane or strong tropical storm can create powerful riptides, modest flooding and cause significant destruction of property."
The analysis shows that exposure varies by state according to differences in population, development trends, length of coastline, geographic risks and other factors. Florida and Texas have a lot of at-risk homes because of their extensive coastlines. New Jersey and Louisiana have less coastline, but lower elevations, which allow wind-driven water to extend further inland than areas at higher elevations.