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Flood insurance rate hikes threaten Tampa Bay real estate market

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HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

A massive flood insurance hike set for next Tuesday threatens to stop Tampa Bay area's real estate recovery in its tracks.

Realtors say pending deals on homes in flood zones have stalled. Buyers are confused and worried they won't be able to afford the new rates.

"I've had several deals fall through," said Pat Lins, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. "There were 24 hours when I just didn't want to come to work."


Related story: 09/26/2013 Flood insurance hike could be big problem for Hillsborough

The problem is that thousands of homes in flood zones have enjoyed a break on rates for years. But the national flood insurance program is in debt. Congress voted in 2012 to do away with the subsidy program.

Related story: 09/27/2013 Tampa Bay area residents to rally against rising flood rates

For many homes, rates could go up by thousands of dollars a year.

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     The homes are scattered across the bay area and include every price range. Bob Henriquez , Hillsborough County PropTuesdaypraiser, says he and other officials have asked congress to step in before tuesday and at least postpone the hike.

"It makes sense, but we're talking about Washington," he said. "But I think there's a lot of folks, including Senator Nelson, our Governor and others that have raised this issue, and we're just hopeful that someone's listening."

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