Home Buying in Florida>Question Details

Wayne Johnson, Other/Just Looking in Seattle, WA

I'll try this question again, this time aimed at those who know or have lived in Florida. Got no answers the

Asked by Wayne Johnson, Seattle, WA Fri May 2, 2008

first time. After living in the Seattle rain for 32 years, my wife and I want to purchase a home and retire soon to a
dryer, warmer climate. We're looking at Arizona and Florida as possibilities. My question is, which areas of Florida have the best track record over the years for the least hurricane damage or danger? This is the thing that has us spooked about Florida. We have heard that homes in certain areas of the state are pretty much uninsurable now. Is this true? Any relocation advice appreciated as related to our concern. Thank you.

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There is insurance available in Florida. I am in located in Citrus County and have even noticed many of my clients getting lower rates and quotes recently. Everytime someone hears Florida immediately hurricanes come to mind. Homes along the coast line obviously have the biggest chance of receiving the highest wind damage. Any home that doesn't have the advantage of land ahead of it to absorb the hurricane and help slow down the wind speeds before passing over their home is going to get a bigger hit than the homes farther in. That being said. My home is only 20 minutes away from the coast and over the past 30 years of living here I have not seen anything beyond minor wind damage..ie..roof damage to homes, brush or tree debris, damage to pool screen enclosures. Hope this information helps.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Tue May 6, 2008
Hello Wayne. My husband and I lived in Phoenix for three years.I thought it too dry and it wasn't nearly green enough for me. We now live in Citrus County, Fl. which is west-Central. It is called Nature coast and for good reason. In the last 7 years that we have lived here we have only had very minor wind damage . ( mostly roof shingles). Generally flooding is on the coastline in this county. This area is not typical of Fl. I don't think. It is not as humid, has rolling hills, open space and a small town feel. Look up Citrus county on the web. Good luck. Pat Combs
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 3, 2008
I recommend Jacksonville, FL (not because I'm from here) just because we were always "spared" from the hurricanes in the past. Check this link for more info.http://www.hurricanecity.com/city/jacksonville.htm. On top of that we have the best hospitals - Mayo Clinic is here. I love the St. John's River the most, You can get anywhere with your boat here. Check the city's website for more info. http://www.coj.net .Hope that helps!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat May 3, 2008
Wayne,
I use to live as a child in Jacksonville, FL and only remember one storm. I also use to live on the west coast of FL just below Punta Gorda and right above the Cape Coral/ Ft Myers area. Now during that time we only had one halfway serious storm. Of course last year that area had a hurricane come right thru there and across the pennisula. But, the thing about that is you don't have to be in Florida to be hit by a hurricane. My parents live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in NC and when Hugo came thru if tore that area up. You can always look at the National weather site. I have pasted the link below. If you put in the name of the town and the years you want to look at it will give you the hurricanes for that time period and the tracks of those storms.

Hope this helps,
Larry Story
Coldwell Banker Triad
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 2, 2008
The link below:

http://browningagency.com/images/map2006.pdf

is a map of FL over the last 100 years. North East Florida has been hit only one time. Ponte Vedra Beach,
home of The Players golf tournament next week is a great place to live work and play.

Call 904-982-3373 or e-mail phillip.moody@prudentialnetworkrealty.com and i will send you a GREAT relo package.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 2, 2008
Hi Wayne,

Both of your potential choices should prove satisfying to you as retirement locations. I only know what I hear about Arizona, and it is mostly positive. The differences I have been told by those I have encountered who are familiar with both places, are that Arizona has less humidity and higher temperatures, and very nice but in some cases a a little more expensive. They certainly don't have the water resources and vegetation that we have in Florida. Florida's weather can be pretty humid, but it is a temperate humidity, and only during the very hot summer months. We have the advantages of the ocean breezes, which fuel our cooling interior summer afternoon thunderstorms. Winters in Florida from about Ocala southward, are very mild and absolutely heavenly. I think both places have a certain degree of appeal to retirees, and many locations actually work actively to recruit retirees with promises of various incentives and conveniences geared to the needs of an aging population.

I have lived in Central Florida since 1972, and in Lake County, just North of Orlando, since 1978. I have never been concerned about hurricanes at all. I would say mostly those concerns affect the coastal areas, although we had the hurricanes of 2004 cross in our area. We had limited flooding, some pretty good winds, and certainly some degree of damage. We don't have a problem so much with uninsurability,. We do have some overall higher rates due to the "spread of liability" among all Florida residents for those in high risk areas. A home valued at around $300,000 typically will be insured at a cost of anywhere from $1500 to $2500 per year, and other than manufactured homes I don't know of anyone who could not obtain insurance. If you are on waterfront, with a risk of flooding, a low credit score (yes, believe it or not this is now considered by insurance companies!), the age and type of construction, how far from a fire department, etc. can certainly cause you to have higher rates. If you get into a newer home in a community not far out of town, the costs could be even lower, in some cases. Most of the damage we sustained from the 3 storms of 2004 was caused by complacency and deferred maintenance on the part of the homeowners. My sister lived just off the coast of Brevard County (near Kennedy Space Center), which took 2 almost direct hits of winds around 85mph, and she lost her 12 year old roof. The interior damage that occurred was due to the roof loss. There were quite a few water damaged homes, and some extensive damage by high winds to some of the older structures in her area. Of course, had the winds been higher, the damage would have been much more extensive there. Newer homes fared very well in almost all areas. Other major losses occurred due to hollow or diseased trees and rotten limbs that fell onto homes. Homeowners have become much more cognizant of the need to prune and remove trees that could pose a danger to their homes since then. Some of the construction codes have been updated to offer more protection for unprecedented strings of weather events like we had. I think in all of the 36 years I've lived here, there were only a couple of storms that actually even posed any threat at all to the majority of the peninsula. The gulf coast, the panhandle of Florida, and the east coast north of Florida seem to be hit all the time. Very powerful storms move rapidly across the peninsula and seem to lose strength rapidly. Certainly we have to take precautions and there are tornado threats, but no more than you see in other areas of the country, and certainly much less than some areas. For those of us who live here, we look at hurricanes as a welcome source for much needed rainfall, and we just pray that the damage does not come with it!

The central part of the state where I am is a huge retirement mecca. Lake County has over 1500 lakes, some as large as 16,000 acres. We are bordered on the North by the pristine Ocala National Forest with crystal clear swimming springs and spring rivers (we call them "runs"). We have some of the best fishing anywhere, and we have a natural phonomenon consisting of a chain of large lakes that provide interior access by boat to the Atlantic Ocean in Jacksonville. We also have a unique hilly terrain and lush, beautiful vegetation. Some of our local retirement communities have been on the top ten Florida list of retirement communities, and the top 200 in the country.

If you would like more information, just e-mail me and I will be happy to send you some links to local towns, and other sites providing information on the area. Be sure to let me know what your interests are and I will include information on what provisions there are for those. We are also mid way between both coast, within an hour or two from both sides, and within 45 minutes of Disney World, Universal, SeaWorld, etc.

Happy hunting!
Web Reference: http://www.DianneScott.com
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 2, 2008
Wayne:

Open this goverment site:

http://maps.csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/viewer.html

and play it a little, find abutton that reads "show all storms".
After that you will probably choose Arizona...but keep in mind the Millions of people who continue to live here, like me, don't deal with earthquakes, snow storms, over 100 degree summers. Actually most of us really love the state. So don't leave a few far and between hurricanes spook you away.

Tony
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 2, 2008
Jacksonville is one of the few cities on the Eastern coast that have been spared from the wrath of hurricanes. The only recorded hurricane to ever hit the First Coast directly was Dora, which made landfall on St. Johns County just after midnight on September 10, 1964. The eye crossed St. Augustine with winds that had just barely diminished to 110 mph, making it a strong Category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. The storm caused $280 million ($1.5 billion in 2000 dollars) in damage and knocked out power for six days. In 2004 we were effected again by Francis and Jeane but only by tropical force winds which did cause a lot of power outages given all the big trees in Jax that were damaged. We have been pretty lucky so far.. If you are wanting more information click on the link below and then go to Discover North East Florida and you can find all kinds of information about Jacksonville and even search properties. Hope this helps.

http://www.prudentialnetworkrealty.com/agent.aspx?id=34733
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri May 2, 2008
Wayne,

Check out Venice.....................there hasn't been a storm of significance there in years. The old timers say, "You don't have to worry about hurricanes BUT watch out for tornadoes."

For thousands of years before whether became a science, Florida Native Americans, traveled hundreds of miles to "summer" in the Venice region because it was protected by the Gods.

Weather or not there is any substance to this theory is up to you to determine. But if you check the records....it will seriously make you wonder.............

We would love the opportunity to continue this conversation and share information about our beautiful area.

Contact the "Eckler Team" 941-408-5363

Michael Saunders & Company
billeckler@michaelsaunders.com
941-408-5363
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 6, 2008
I can answer that for you. I live in Citrus county florida, Homosassa to be excat. we have been threatened by hurricanes but have not been directly hit since before I moved here 16 years ago.
Here is a link that you can see all past hurricane tracks
http://maps.csc.noaa.gov/hurricanes/
Maybe it will help you in deciding where to go.

Lucy
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 4, 2008
as you can see ppl know their own location but not others . I would do my own study . I love florida what else can I tell you . .. and yes you can get insurance in florida ...
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 3, 2008
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