Irma approached Florida with some dire predictions for levels of devastation not seen in the region since Andrew more than a decade ago, but the storm weakened and spared the Sunshine State of epic damage.
However, even in its weakened state, Irma caused plenty of misery in the Tampa Bay area.
The area was spared major damage, easing fears that the area’s real estate market could face a calamitous setback just it was enjoying such a strong rebound from the housing crash.
Vincent Cassidy, president of Tampa-based Majesty Title Services, told the Tampa Bay Times Irma’s main impact appears to be some delayed closings and has led to some reinspections of homes under contract.
“Buyers want homes; they just want to make sure the home they are buying is in the same condition as it was prior to the storm. The major thing we’re dealing with is lenders who had approved mortgages and were ready to go but were going back out for inspections.”
Less than 48 hours after the storm, home inspectors hit the streets in the Tampa area. One gave the all-clear to a home in South Tampa that closed Wednesday. Cassidy predicted that it was unlikely that any more than 10 percent of the closings handled by Majesty’s six bay area offices will be delayed, Cassidy estimated.
“Because we got that glancing blow from Irma, it doesn’t appear it’s going to impact our area except that (closings) that would have been evenly dispersed in September will be crammed in the last two weeks.”
Realtor Deborah Marcum fielded calls after Irma from buyers. She noted not a single one was ready to back out.
“They just wanted to make sure their home was ok. They know the building is still standing and did not have any significant damage other than landscaping so I think they will feel more comfortable.”
Realtor Martha Thorn is a veteran who specializes in waterfront properties in Pinellas County. She scheduled several closings that had to be postponed this week, but no one wanted to back out.
“I think a lot of people feel good about Pinellas, as long as flood insurance doesn’t become a big issue.”