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A Call for Better Housing in North Carolina

Hurricane Ian ravaged Florida, North Carolina, and the rest of the Southern U.S. on September 28, 2022. Many lost their lives, and thousands who were displaced returned to devastated homes and communities. Thankfully, we’ve seen people step up and provide humanitarian aid.

Hurricane Ian brought heavy rain and wind to North Carolina over a few days. Still, Vice President of Operations and Logistics for the American Red Cross Brad Kieserman said the storm destroyed or caused major damage to less than 50 homes in the state. Over a million NC homes and businesses lost power. And sadly, we experienced the loss of lives as well.

Now, we need to band together and prepare for future disasters. Ian caused billions of dollars of property damage, worsening our tenuous housing climate. Now, many confront a lack of affordable housing, a need for better-built houses, and a volatile insurance market.

As many struggle to find affordable housing, losing even dozens of homes is a crippling blow to the market. A recent Washington Post article mentions an incredible “deficit of 500,000 homes” in Florida alone. Unfortunately, this lack of affordable housing permeates the entire country, including North Carolina.

It is reported that June 2022, home prices in North Carolina were up 14.5% compared to last year, selling for a median price of $364.900. Our larger cities now have a median price of $400,000. In comparison, the median income of NC households is reported to be $56,642. 

Building Codes

After Hurricane Ian, the New York Times interviewed a civil engineering professor for his view on home performance relative to code. They found that while homes built under newer codes typically perform better, those built under old guidelines suffer. As our understanding of building science expands, updated codes create safer, more structurally-sound buildings. Codes are the minimum, so contractors recommend going above and beyond in high-risk areas.

Homeowners Insurance

To top it off, homeowners must also deal with the headache of insurance. According to an NPR interview, Florida suffers from a uniquely challenging insurance environment. Of course, the proximity to the coast complicates things, but Florida homeowners “are paying the highest average premium in the US right now, almost triple the US average.” This absurdity is further complicated by “rampant roof replacement claim schemes,” where contractors convince homeowners to replace a perfectly good roof. Of course, many NC homeowners face the same challenges.

Climate

Roofing is a vital part of a home’s resistance to high winds, making it a good target for con artists. People are legitimately concerned about a strong roof, and they should be. On hurricanes and roofing, Roofing expert Todd Miller said, “Everyone wants a highly wind-resistant roof system. But there are diminishing returns on older or poorly built homes. What sense does it make to have a roof system that can withstand 200 mph winds when the structure underneath will shift under 110 mph winds?” 

A Chance to Rebuild and Build Better Housing

Building codes need an update, and older homes need renovation to keep up. Extreme weather will continue and likely worsen. This disaster is a chance to rebuild homes with better practices for underserved demographics. We must continue to improve building codes, create revolutionary solutions for new, resilient homes, and focus on better housing for everyone.

Learn more about how McCarthy Metal Roofing can help make your home and the homes of others more resilient with a phone call or email. We’re here to help make things better for North Carolina homeowners.