Courtesy Adobe Stock/Trong Nguyen

In the six months following Hurricane Harvey’s landfall in Texas on August 25, 2017, absentee buyers purchased almost 9% more properties in 40 counties designated as disaster areas than they did in the same period one year earlier.

In counties without this designation, absentee buyer sales only rose 1.4% in the six months after the hurricane. From January-August 2018, absentee buyer purchases rose by 12% YOY in federally-designated disaster areas, but only rose 3% in the rest of the state.

(An “absentee buyer” is defined here as an investor, vacation-home/second-home buyer, or others whose site and mailing addresses are different at the time of purchase.)

The absentee share could still trend higher in some areas as individual investors and investment groups continue to search for opportunities – including deals between themselves – and some homeowners wrestle with the question of whether to stay, and in some cases rebuild, in a flood plain.

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