Planning for Housing Recovery? Lessons Learned From Hurricane Andrew Academic Article uri icon


  • Problem: Housing recovery is key to revitalizing communities following major natural disasters, and yet there is little empirical research on how housing recovery differs across neighborhoods with different sociodemographic characteristics, what happens to housing markets, or property abandonment after disasters. Purpose: We address these gaps by examining single-family housing recovery, housing sales, and property abandonment following Hurricane Andrew in south Miami-Dade County, FL. Methods: We developed panel models predicting single-family housing recovery to examine the effects of home and neighborhood characteristics and hurricane damage on recovery. We analyzed home sales and properties abandoned to assess the extent and duration of the hurricane impacts and conducted correlation analyses to identify neighborhood attributes associated with post-disaster home sales and abandonment. Results and conclusions: Housing recovery trajectories depended on neighborhood demographic, socioeconomic, and housing characteristics. Rental units and homes in low-income and minority neighborhoods recovered more slowly. Home sales increased significantly, with some properties selling multiple times within a short period especially in heavily damaged nonminority neighborhoods. Property abandonments increased dramatically, potentially creating cascading negative effects in affected neighborhoods. Takeaway for practice: Major natural disasters are likely to be followed by housing market volatility, high rates of property abandonment, and uneven housing recovery. To prevent long-lasting adverse effects, planners should focus on reducing housing turnover, retaining home ownership, and promoting reuse of abandoned properties. State and local governments should consider imposing emergency moratoria on foreclosures and insurance cancelations and providing incentives to encourage the rebuilding of low income and rental properties. Land-bank programs could dampen housing market volatility, and emergency property disposition programs and eminent domain processes could expedite reuse of abandoned properties. However, redevelopment should be consistent with long-term development, equity, and hazard mitigation goals. Research support: This research was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation directly (CMS 0100155) and through the Mid-American Earthquake Center (EEC-9701785). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation or the Mid-American Earthquake Center. American Planning Association, Chicago, IL.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 43.08

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhang, Y., & Peacock, W. G.

citation count

  • 165

complete list of authors

  • Zhang, Yang||Peacock, Walter Gillis

publication date

  • December 2010