Rep. Mark Sanford supports delay in higher flood insurance premiums

By Liz Segrist
lsegrist@scbiznews.com
Published July 29, 2013

A measure recently approved by the House could give homeowners living in low-lying areas a one-year delay in paying higher federal flood insurance premiums.

Homeowners’ flood insurance bills have been grandfathered in at lower rates from the time they bought or built their homes. Last year, Congress voted to overhaul the National Flood Insurance Program and redo the flood boundaries.

U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford speaks about real estate and insurance at a Charleston Trident Association of Realtors town hall on Friday. (Photo/Liz Segrist)
U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford speaks about real estate and insurance at a Charleston Trident Association of Realtors town hall on Friday. (Photo/Liz Segrist)
The government’s remapping might increase flood insurance premiums for homeowners. The measure, which still needs a Senate vote, would delay these increased premiums by one year.

“The flood maps are just coming out,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford — who voted in favor of the delay — during a Charleston Trident Association of Realtors’ town hall. “It didn’t make sense to me to put the premiums before the maps.”

Sanford discussed real estate and insurance while fielding questions from a roomful of Charleston-area real estate agents Friday.

Many of the real estate agents in attendance had an array of concerns on what some called “the assault on housing,” such as the proposed changes to Federal Housing Administration loans, or mortgage insurance on loans made by FHA-approved lenders.

The proposals would limit FHA loans to $200,000 and to first-time homebuyers, while requiring a 5% down payment.

One real estate agent in the audience said dramatic changes to FHA loans would hurt real estate and all of the markets that feed into it. Sanford said he needs more time to study the issues that could impact the local real estate market.

“I’ve only been back for 60 days,” Sanford said. “Ask me in another 60 days.”

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