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College of Arts & Sciences
Hazards & Vulnerability Research Institute

Hurricane Hazard Impact on Property Value Change: A Case Study of Pawley's Island, South Carolina

Paul D. Putnam

Advisor:  Dr. Susan L. Cutter



The relationship between flood hazard/floodplain location and real estate market property value is both controversial and plagued by a host of contradictory findings. This research investigated change in land and property market values on a barrier island due to a singular catastrophic, or one in a lifetime hazard event. Specifically, 485 property parcels on the coastal barrier island known as Pawley’s Island, South Carolina were studied in a pre- and post- Hurricane Hugo model of the spatial distribution of property value change. The following four research questions were asked: 1) Has there been significant difference or change in assessed property values at Pawley’s Island, South Carolina from 1965 to 1997? 2) What impact does a catastrophic hazard event such as Hurricane Hugo have on assessed property value change? 3) Are there spatial variations in property value change? and 4) Have assessed property values been impacted by non-structural policies such as zoning or construction code changes? The results showed that significant property value change has occurred, with the largest differences occurring between oceanfront vs. non-oceanfront properties. Hugo greatly influenced the spatial and temporal dynamics of property value change on the island. Those sections that experienced the greatest amount of damage also saw the greatest increase in building square footage and building value increase. Non-structural mitigation measures were not found to have a significant impact on property values.