Report: 70 percent of flooded properties uninsured

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Up to 70 percent of homes and apartment complexes that were flooded in the wake of Hurricane Harvey were not insured for flood losses, according to a study by industry analysts.

Losses for residential properties alone could be up to $37 billion.

That doesn't include city, business or other losses - only homes. As Houston comes in second in the nation for new home building permits, the number of people signing up for flood insurance is steadily declining, despite repeat rain events. In 2016, 44,732 new permits were issued.

Harris County has 25,000 fewer flood-insured properties than it did in 2012, according to the AP's review of FEMA data.

In percentage terms, the drop was even more dramatic in certain sections of the county: In Pasadena, just southeast of Houston, policies were down nearly 20 percent. Baytown, east of Houston, saw a 22 percent drop. The trouble extended beyond Houston, too. Jefferson County, home to cities like Beaumont and Port Arthur saw a bigger drop. That county fell from 25,818 policies to 19,773 in the past five years, a 23 percent decrease.

Nearly 1.5 million Houston homes are in flood risk areas, not including homes outside flood zones that have flooded with some regularity in the past.

Nearly three out of four homes that flooded in the last 10 years in the Houston area were not in a floodplain, according to recent research done by Rice University and Texas A&M Galveston.

Making matters worse, many homeowners who were uninsured and whose homes flooded will face negative equity issues if they're able to rebuild in the first place, according to the Urban Institute.

Homeowners who can't pay to rebuild will likely be forced to relocate or move out of the city altogether.

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