The Florida Keys Real Estate News & Market Trends Blog

You’ll find our Florida Keys Real Estate Blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values, home buying and selling ideas and tips, to community happenings from Key Largo to Key West. That’s because we care about community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

March 6, 2023

Flood insurance required for Citizens wind coverage!

Citizens policyholders required to purchase flood insurance

Image of flood insurance policy

The Florida Legislative Session begins on March 7, and FIRM is working on a number of issues, most notably the new flood insurance requirement for Citizens policyholders that was enacted during the December 2022 Special Session.

What is the new requirement?

Citizens policyholders must secure and maintain flood insurance regardless of whether they are in areas prone to inundation, elevated, or do not have a Federally backed mortgage.

This requirement was in many ways a result of the widespread flooding (much of it inland) that occurred during Hurricane Ian where many homeowners found out too late that most homeowners policies do not cover flood losses.

In other areas of the state, flood insurance is not widely  purchased, but many Florida Keys residents are either required to carry flood insurance or purchase it as an extra precaution.

What is FIRM's response to the requirement?

FIRM supports efforts to protect from flood and ensure homeowners are educated about what their policies do and do not cover. However, the flood insurance requirement has led to an additional financial burden for Monroe County residents already struggling to afford astronomical windstorm insurance rates.

What can you do?

During the upcoming Florida Legislative Session, FIRM will be working with our House and Senate representatives to try and address this and other property insurance issues. We encourage you to reach out to Representative Mooney and Senator Rodriguez as well--it helps them to have information they can share with their colleagues in Tallahassee about the impact of these requirements.

You can use these bullet points in your correspondence, but also include details about your personal situation. And do share your contact information so they can reach out to you if they have questions.

  • The requirement gives no credit to property owners who have mitigated for flood damage, either by elevating or by buying in a low-risk zone.
  • It may leave Monroe County residents with no choice but to drop their Citizens windstorm insurance and to be underinsured--the opposite of what the requirement intends.
  • Those with a mortgage who can't afford flood insurance will be left with no choice to but sell, and the requirement limits their potential buyers.
March 6, 2023

Citizens drops insurance policies!

Citizens drops insurance policies due to rise in home replacement values

Graphic with houses and an upwards arrow

The Sun Sentinel reported “New data provided by state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corp….shows that the company dropped 2,267 policies statewide during the 12-months ending June 30 because their homes’ replacement value exceeded $700,000.”

The eligibility cap is set at $700,000 for all counties except for Miami-Dade and Monroe both of which have $1m caps. However, as many Monroe County homeowners know, the replacement values are exceeding the $1m cap causing Citizens to drop many Monroe County policies. Citizens truly is the “insurer of last resort” for Monroe County, and some homeowners have reported to FIRM that they are unable to obtain insurance in the private market. This is a concerning trend especially as we approach the height of the 2022 hurricane season.

What is driving the trend?

The Sun Sentinel explains the reasons behind this increase in home values:

“Unlike a home’s market value that measures how much money you could get by selling your home and the land it sits on, replacement values measure what it would cost to replace a structure. White a hot real estate market can drive up a home’s asking price, replacement-value increases are a result of inflation driving up costs of building materials, energy and labor.”

In 2013 the Florida Legislature decreased coverage limit to $700,000. Because the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) determined there is not a reasonable degree of competition in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, these two counties were exempt from the decreased coverage limit of $700,000. The maximum coverage limit of less than $1 million continued to be applied to risks in these two counties.

Florida regulators are studying the caps

Following the drop in Monroe County policies that began last year, increasing that cap became a legislative priority for FIRM in the 2022 legislative session. With no major property insurance bills being passed, it remains a priority for FIRM heading into the 2023 session.

And now the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) is stepping in to review the cap.

“The trend has prompted the state to undertake a study of the $700,000 cap, instituted so that taxpayers don’t end up subsidizing wealthy homeowners who can afford private insurance to cover homes worth more.”

Unfortunately homeowners who aren’t wealthy but whose home values have risen sharply are being dropped and are unable to find coverage in the private market.

“If the OIR finds that homeowners can’t get affordable coverage from private market insurers, the caps could be increased in Broward, Palm Beach and other counties. The study will analyze all 67 Florida counties.”

FIRM and its lobbyists are already working with Rep. Mooney and Sen. Rodriguez to ensure that the OIR closely analyzes Monroe County’s current coverage cap.

If Citizens has dropped your policy and you’re unable to find coverage in the private market, let your legislators know.


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Jan. 16, 2023

Miami to escape price correction: Goldman Sachs

Miami to escape the home price correction in 2023

while ‘overheated’ housing markets like Austin

get hammered, says Goldman Sachs

Lance Lambert

The Fed's ongoing inflation fight—which saw mortgage rates spike from 3% to 6% in 2022—has set off the second biggest home price correction of the post-WWII era.

On one hand, the 2.4% drop in U.S. home prices seen between June and October is small relative to the housing crash's 26% national home price decline from the top in 2007 to the bottom in 2012. On the other hand, the ongoing home price correction might have a lot of gas left in the tank.

Look no further than a Goldman Sachs paper put out last week with the title "Getting worse before getting better." Researchers at the investment bank argued in the paper that the national home price correction will continue through 2023.

"We are lowering our 2023 forecast for year-over-year depreciation in the Case-Shiller Home Price Index to -6.1% from -4.1% previously. This would represent an aggregate peak-to-trough decline of roughly 10% in U.S. home prices through the end of this year from June 2022," write Goldman Sachs researchers.

Through October, the lagged Case-Shiller National Home Price Index has registered a -2.4% national home price decline. However, researchers at the investment bank estimate once we get the November and December readings, we'll see national home prices are already down -4%. That means we might already be half-way to Goldman Sachs' estimated 10% peak-to-trough decline.

Nationally, a 10% peak-to-trough decline in U.S. home prices—which climbed 41% between March 2020 and June 2022—shouldn't do too much financial damage, says Goldman Sachs. However, the firm says some regional markets won't be so lucky.

"This [national] decline should be small enough as to avoid broad mortgage credit stress, with a sharp increase in foreclosures nationwide seeming unlikely. That said, overheated housing markets in the Southwest and Pacific coast, such as San Jose MSA, Austin MSA, Phoenix MSA, and San Diego MSA will likely grapple with peak-to-trough declines of over 25%, presenting localized risk of higher delinquencies for mortgages originated in 2022 or late 2021," writes Goldman Sachs.

View this interactive chart on

In 2023, Goldman Sachs expects double-digit home price declines in major markets like Austin (-15.6), San Francisco (-13.7%), San Diego (-13.4%), Phoenix (-12.9%), Denver (-11.4%), Seattle (-11.2%), Tampa (-11.2%), and Las Vegas (-11.1%). Those markets are also the very places that the home price correction hit the hardest in the second half of 2022. Indeed, through November, Austin is down 10.4% from its 2022 peak home price.

Why does Goldman Sachs expect the correction to deliver the biggest blow to markets like San Diego and Austin? The investment bank says those markets are "overheated," which implies that home price growth there got too detached from fundamentals during the Pandemic Housing Boom. Being detached from fundamentals packs a particularly hard punch when mortgage rates spike like they did in 2022.

Heading forward, Goldman Sachs thinks many Northeastern, Southeastern, and Midwestern markets could see milder corrections (if any correction at all). In 2023, the investment bank expects home prices to barely fall in places like Chicago (-1.8%) and New York (-0.3%), while its forecast has home prices rising in Baltimore (+0.5%) and Miami (+0.8%) in 2023.

View this interactive chart on

"Our 2023 revised forecast primarily reflects our view that interest rates will remain at elevated levels longer than currently priced in, with 10-year Treasury yields peaking in 2023 Q3. As a result, we are raising our forecast for the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 6.5% for year-end 2023 (representing a 30 bp increase from our prior expectation)," write Goldman Sachs researchers. "This path would cause affordability to worsen incrementally, after a slight improvement over the past two months."

While the investment bank expects U.S. home prices to fall 6.1% in 2023, it doesn't expect a prolonged downturn like the previous bust: In 2024, Goldman Sachs expects U.S. home prices to rise 1% even as markets like Austin and Phoenix continue to fall.

"Assuming the economy remains on the path to a soft landing, avoiding a recession, and the 30-year fixed mortgage rate falls back to 6.15% by year-end 2024, home price growth will likely shift from depreciation to below-trend appreciation in 2024," writes Goldman Sachs.

Whether it's Goldman Sachs' forecast or Moody's outlook, the biggest wildcard for any home price forecast model remains mortgage rates. (You can find the latest home price forecast from 27 of the nation's leading real estate research firms here.)

At the peak in November, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate as measured by Mortgage Rate Daily sat at 7.37%. However, following positive news on the inflation front the past few months, financial conditions have loosened and the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate has fallen to 6.09%. If mortgage rates were to continue falling, firms like Goldman Sachs might have to start upgrading their home price outlooks.

Looking for more housing data? Follow me on Twitter at @NewsLambert.

This story was originally featured on

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