Many new home buyers to experience first hurricane season in SWFL

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Credit: WINK News.

Many cities in Southwest Florida are seeing a lot of growth.

Construction crews are building thousands of new homes in Cape Coral, but that means lot of people dealing with their first hurricane season.

If you remember what happened to toilet paper early in the pandemic, first responders told us the same things happens to many of the supplies you need to be stocked up on in the days leading up to a big storm.

So it’s important to stock up on food, water and even medications for everyone in your household well in advance.

The City of Cape Coral says more new homes are being built now than we’ve seen in more than a decade.

“This is a big spike,” said Matthew Groff, the vice president of Groff Building Contractors.

Groff says the difference between this housing boom and previous ones is that more people are choosing to live in the region rather than just seeing it as an investment.

“When you’re buying existing homes and the inventory is minimal, prices are going up,” Groff said. “So essentially builders are building them cheaper than what you buy on the open market.”

It’s the kind of growth Councilman Dan Sheppard says the city was ready for.

“We wanted better growth than we had in the past, growth that adds tremendous value, growth that’s sustainable,” Sheppard said. “And I think we’re doing that right now.”

But homes can’t be built fast enough.

“That’s the big pickle we’re all in, getting materials timely right now,” Sheppard said.

It’s the same issue facing many in Southwest Florida who haven’t experienced a hurricane season before.

“Especially the way lumber is right now, if you’re expecting to get yourself suddenly shutters, wooden shutters to protect home, that’s something that something that’s not going to be readily available,” said Amy Bollen, the director of public relations with South Trail Fire & Rescue District.

Bollen says well ahead of a possible storm threat is the time to get what you need.

“It sounds so redundant, and we say it so many times, but if everybody was prepared, we wouldn’t have empty store shelves when a storm was coming,” Bollen said.

Bollen also told us the difficulty in finding supplies now, especially to protect your home, could also mean it’s harder to make repairs quickly after a storm hits.

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