Do Coastal Building Codes Mitigate Hurricane Damage to Residential Property?
40 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2006
Date Written: December 2006
In this paper we explore whether increased coastal building standards imposed by federal and state level initiatives are effective in mitigating losses to coastal property. We first examine if the coastal building code regime under which a property is constructed affects the likelihood of hurricane induced residential property damage. Then, for those properties which incur hurricane damage, we examine whether the extent of damage is explained by the relevant coastal building code regime. Our analysis shows that those properties built following coastal building code changes associated with the National Flood Insurance Program were more likely to sustain damage relative to similarly located pre-National Flood Insurance Program construction. For those damaged properties, we find the extent of damage is greater for post-National Flood Insurance Program construction, where damage is increasing in the required base flood elevation. Further investigation suggests wind, flood or a combination of both perils as the likely causes of damage for post-National Flood Insurance Program construction. Our findings raise concern regarding the effectiveness of federal and state mandated coastal building codes as ex-ante mitigation of property losses from hurricanes.
Keywords: building codes, high hazard areas, hurricanes, mitigation, property risk
JEL Classification: H59, H76, Q54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation