$700 Billion Unpaid Mortgage Balances In Hurricane Harvey And Irma Disaster Areas

Even as the damage from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is still being tallied, a preliminary assessment released last week by Black Knight Financial Services estimated that as many as 300,000 borrowers in the vicinity of Houston could become delinquent on their loans and 160,000 could become seriously delinquent, or more than 90 days past due. 

That number is roughly four times the original prediction because new disaster zones were designated and more homes flooded when officials released water from reservoirs to protect dams, according to CNBC's Diana Olick. In total, the number of mortgaged properties in Texas disaster zones is 1.18 million, with Black Knight adding that Houston disaster zones contain twice as many mortgaged properties than Katrina zones, with four times the unpaid principal balance.

Putting the Harvey damange in context, after Hurricane Katrina mortgage delinquencies in Louisiana and Mississippi disaster areas spiked by 25%. The same could happen in Houston, as borrowers without flood insurance weigh their options and decide to walk away from the property. While they will get some federal relief, if rebuilding would cost more than the principal in their homes, they could decide to walk away according to Olick.

What about Irma?

According to a preliminary analysis by Black Knight released today, Florida FEMA-designated disaster areas related to Hurricane Irma include a whopping 3.1 million mortgaged properties.  As Black Knight's EVP Ben Graboske explained, both the number of mortgages and the unpaid principal balances of those mortgages in FEMA-designated Irma disaster areas are significantly larger than in the areas impacted recently by Hurricane Harvey.

Quantifying the damage, Black Knight calculates that Irma-related disaster areas contain nearly three times as many mortgaged properties as those connected to Hurricane Harvey, and nearly seven times as many as those connected to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In dollar terms, this means that there is some $517 billion in unpaid principal balances in Irma-related disaster areas, nearly three times the amount as in those related to Harvey and more than 11 times of those connected to Katrina.

“While the total extent of the damage from Hurricane Irma is still being determined, it is clear that the size and scope of the disaster is immense,” said Graboske.

“Indeed, in terms of the number of mortgaged properties and their associated unpaid principal balances, Irma significantly outpaces even the number of borrowers impacted by Hurricane Harvey. With FEMA expanding the number of Irma-related designated disaster areas late Wednesday, Sept. 13, to a total of 37 Florida counties, more than 90 percent of all mortgaged properties in the state now fall into such areas. More than 3.1 million properties are now included in FEMA-designated Irma disaster areas, representing approximately $517 billion in unpaid principal balances. In comparison, Harvey-related disaster areas held 1.18 million properties – more than twice as many as with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – with a combined unpaid principal balance of $179 billion. Irma-related disaster areas now contain nearly seven times as many mortgaged properties as those connected to Katrina, with more than 11 times the principal balances.

Combining the preliminary estimates for both Harvey and Irma suggests that over 3.3 million total mortgaged properties are located in Irma and Harvey-related FEMA Disaster zones, while the dollar amount of total unpaid mortgage balances in these two zones is massive: between Irma's $517 billion and Harvey's $179 billion, the total potential damage could impact as much as a $696 billion in notional mortgage values, which banks could be on the hook for if current occupiers decide to simply walk away.

Based on back of the envelope analyses by Black Knight, an extrapolation of the Katrina damage would suggest that Florida could suffer as much as 750,000 mortgage delinquencies as a result of Hurricane Irma.

To be sure, there are mitigating circumstances: Florida borrowers likely have more insurance and less exposure to loss, but for those homes with the most damage, homeowners will be making the same calculation as those that suffered devastating flooding after Harvey. Another issue in Florida according to Olick is that even a decade later, the housing market is still recovering from the foreclosure crisis. Five percent of Florida borrowers still owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, and an additional 5 percent have very little equity in their homes. Home prices in Fort Myers, which saw considerable flooding from Irma, are still 29 percent below what they were during the housing boom.

Still, in order to avoid a surge in foreclosures, lenders are more likely to offer borrowers, even seriously delinquent borrowers, options to catch up, although the biggest risk to lenders will be in Houston, where some homeowners may see no good reason to stay.

There was some silver lining: “As Irma forged its path of destruction through the Caribbean, one relatively positive development was that Puerto Rico escaped the direct hit many had predicted. From a mortgage performance perspective, this was particularly good news, as delinquencies there were already quite high leading up to the storm. At more than 10 percent, Puerto Rico’s delinquency rate is nearly three times that of the U.S. average, as is its 5.8 percent serious delinquency rate. In contrast, the disaster areas declared in Florida have starting delinquency rates below the national average, providing more than a glimmer of optimism as we move forward.”

Unfortunately, Hurricane Maria, now a Category 3, is expected to hit Puerto Rico some time on Wednesday, adding to the damage already suffered from Irma, and potentially sending the already bankrupt territory reeling even deeper into the financial hole.


CPL Mon, 09/18/2017 - 13:17 Permalink

Next time don't build on a flood plain with no hope of insurance coverage and a government that is already flat assed broke. 

Manthong E.F. Mutton Mon, 09/18/2017 - 13:21 Permalink

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  Just mail the keys back with a note that says it has been fun but you might need a front loader and a semi trailer end dump truck now.

In reply to by E.F. Mutton

Slack Jack DWD-MOVIE Mon, 09/18/2017 - 18:17 Permalink

When the temperatures are higher, hurricanes are (potentially) more powerful. Since hurricanes are formed by the evaporation of sea-water. The warmer the water, the more evaporation and the stronger the hurricane. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that global warming will add to the average strength of hurricanes. The occurrence of hurricanes depends on many factors, in particular the wind shear. So it is not clear that global warming will necessarily increase the number of Hurricanes, although it might.

The stronger the hurricane, the more it costs to clean up the mess.

So, why is the global rise in temperatures so worrisome?

For one thing, as temperatures rise good farmland will become desert (e.g., dust-bowl conditions will probably return to the American Midwest).

Another major problem is sea-level rise.

Have a look at http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/fs2-00/

The U.S. Geological Survey people claim that;

The Greenland ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 6.55 meters (21.5 feet),
the West Antarctica ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 8.06 meters (26.4 feet),
the East Antarctica ice sheet melting will raise sea-level 64.8 meters (212.6 feet),
and all other ice melting will raise sea-level 0.91 meters (3 feet).

For a grand total of about 80 meters (263 feet).

So, what does an 80 meter (263 feet) rise in sea-level mean. Have a look at the following map of the world after an 80 meter rise. It means that over one billion people will have to be resettled to higher ground and that much of the most productive agricultural land will be under water. Fortunately, at current rates, the Greenland ice sheet will take over a thousand years to melt and the Antarctica ice sheet, much longer. However, the greater the temperature rise the faster the ice sheets will melt, bringing the problem much closer. Remember, the huge ice sheet that recently covered much of North America, almost completely melted in only 15,000 years (today, only the Greenland ice sheet, and some other small patches of it, remain). Since then (15,000 years ago), sea-levels have risen about 125 meters (410 feet), only 80 meters to go.

The ice sheets have been continuously melting for thousands of years. What is left of them today, is still melting, and will continue to melt. Human caused global warning will cause this remnant to melt significantly faster. This is a big, big, problem.

For HUGE detailed maps of the "World after the Melt" go to:


Global temperatures are increasing. And by quite a lot each year.

2016 is the hottest year on record for global temperatures.

This is 0.0380 degrees centigrade hotter than the previous record year which was 2015.

0.0380 is a large increase in just one year.

2015 was the hottest year (at that time) for global temperatures.

This was 0.1601 degrees hotter than the previous record year which was 2014.

0.1601 is an absolutely huge increase in just one year (at this rate temperatures would increase by 16 degrees in a century).

2014 was the hottest year (at that time) for global temperatures.

This was 0.0402 degrees hotter than the previous record year which was 2010.


The conspiracy to hide global warming data.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is given tax money to make global temperature records available to the public. However, certain people at NOAA continually sabotage this aspect of NOAA's mandate. For example, these people have (deliberately) sabotaged the web-page that delivers the temperature records.

Look for yourself:

Go to the page: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/monitoring-references/faq/anomalies.php scroll down to the The Global Anomalies and Index Data section and click the download button and see what happens. Well, you get the message:

"Not Found. The requested URL /monitoring-references/faq/anomalies-download was not found on this server."

I guess that the 2017 data must be truly horrible if they have to hide it away.

It turns out that this seems to be the case; NASA reports that:

July 2017 had the hottest average land temperatures on record.

The new July 2017 record was +1.20 degrees centigrade above the 20th century average (of the July data). The previous record average land temperature for July was just last year. It was +1.10 degrees above the 20th century average.

Did the media bother to tell you about this? No!


They are apparently too frightened to tell you about the August 2017 data. How many months does it take to figure out the averages for August? I guess the August data must be truly truly horrible.

In reply to by DWD-MOVIE

claytonmoore50 38BWD22 Mon, 09/18/2017 - 15:04 Permalink

"Which banks (or other institutions) are most exposed? "I suspect it is in fact not many banks, but rather these mortgages are bundled and sold and resold as dirivitives to various investment groups; pension funds, etc.I wonder if, in about six to eight months we dont see another 'mortgage crisis' similar to what we had ten years ago... Hmmm

In reply to by 38BWD22

silverer Mon, 09/18/2017 - 13:19 Permalink

In their infinite wisdom, the Dodd-Frank gang have the banks well protected with working people's investments. Whatever they need is as close as the closest keyboard.

FoggyWorld Ben A Drill Mon, 09/18/2017 - 14:46 Permalink

It's not that simple.  Houses that were minimally damaged and can be lifted onto pilings can be saved.  So much of what has gone wrong is due to inferior building codes along coastlines.   The builders and realtors wanted low prices and got those sloppy codes by donating to politicians.We built our house to Outer Banks building codes on a Bay in NJ that was hit by Sandy and our 44 neighboring houses were pretty much totalled.  Ours received minimal damage and we stayed in it during the storm and lived in it right through today.  After Sandy though, FEMA didn't do a perfect job and it took years, but now our new building codes really would have saved all of those homes had they been built properly in the first place. 

In reply to by Ben A Drill

To Hell In A H… Mon, 09/18/2017 - 13:24 Permalink

"FUCK YOU PAY ME!" The banks remind me of the gangsters in Goodfellas. What a gig these fuckers have? Creating money from nothing, then lending it out as legal tender. Fuck the money changers.

Byrond Mon, 09/18/2017 - 13:28 Permalink

Finding out that drywall falls apart when it gets soaked is one of life's magical wonderments. Finding out that it costs $200 an hour and months off full time labor to nail together $2 wall studs and $5 sheets of drywall (with an added 1000 percent markup on materials) also constitutes pure wonderment. The banks deserve it.