LEE COUNTY, Fla - In a matter of days, rates on flood insurance will go up dramatically in some cases. We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars in premiums to thousands.
Local real estate brokers fear the hikes will have a negative impact on the housing market in Southwest Florida.
Shane Spring sells homes on Sanibel and Captiva. Over the last few months, he's been dealing with a booming housing market, but he says things could soon go downhill.
"Anyone out there with a flood insurance policy could see up to a 25 percent increase a year for up to four years," says Spring.
The effect, he says, is few people will be able to afford new homes. Right now, State Insurance agent Blake Chapman is taking a lot of calls from concerned neighbors. "It's definitely had the phone ringing," says Chapman.
He says certain pocket areas will be affected more than others. Sanibel, Fort Myers Beach, Forest Country Club, Island Park Road and Lakes Park to name a few.
"If they are five feet below, you can imagine that water can be up to the roof easily on just a small storm," says Chapman.
The hike in flood insurance is due to a recently passed federal law. Spring says he's seeing premiums that were previously $800 a year jump to $8,000, mainly on vacation and secondary homes.
"When you have a flood insurance bill that's higher than your mortgage payment most people aren't going to buy a house," says Spring.
Instead he thinks homeowners will look elsewhere. That's why he and a group of others are going to Washington D.C. to talk to law makers and fight the new law.
"You see people go from the thousands into the multi thousands, $15,000, $20,000, $30,000."
Spring heads to D.C. next week.