Social Benefits of Voluntary Buyouts Following Flooding

Tuesday November 10, 2015

There’s a great article in Natural Hazards called “Flood recovery and property acquisition in Cedar Rapids, Iowa” by Eric Tate, Aaron Strong, Travis Kraus, and Haoyi Xiong, on the value of buying property in the floodplain to reduce long-term damages.

The idea behind this is if a property is damaged by flood frequently, then maybe it should be put to a different use, likely greenspace. There’s a FEMA program for this that buys up so-called repetitive loss properties, those that are recurrent sources of NFIP claims, that pulls the property out of the market and returns it to a natural state. Those natural states near the floodplain, typically marshy, form barriers to flood damage.

The authors conduct a benefit-cost analysis and conclude that Federally-sponsored buyouts will likely be a net social benefit.

Image via Springer.