Florida’s homeowners are getting slammed with soaring insurance bills as extreme weather becomes the new norm.

Big insurers are bailing, leaving residents in a bind. But developer Marshall Gobuty has a bold plan: build homes that can take whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

“People say they build to code, and my answer is ‘Great,’” Gobuty told Business Insider. “Building over code and doing things that haven’t been done — that’s something to be proud of.”

Welcome to Hunters Point, an 86-unit community in Cortez, Florida, just an hour south of Tampa.

A total of 86 units have been developed in the Hunters Point community. Courtesy Hunters Point

Developed by Gobuty’s Pearl Homes, this net-zero community saw its first residents move in back in 2022. These homes have already withstood two hurricanes, all while generating more energy than they use.

Even when their insurance carrier initially backed out, Gobuty’s team secured coverage by showcasing their robust construction techniques. “They’re covering us because of the way we built our homes,” Gobuty told BI.

Residents first moved into the net-zero single-family homes in 2022, and they have withstood two hurricanes so far while also producing more energy than they consume. Courtesy Hunters Point

Features like ground-floor flood vents and full-home metal strappings proved to be game changers.

This innovation is critical as Florida’s insurance market faces a crisis.

Since 2022, a dozen insurers have gone belly up, stopped issuing new policies, or pulled out of the state altogether. The state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corporation has become the top underwriter as private firms flee.

The area has only about 4,000 residents. Courtesy Hunters Point
Some units offer waterfront views. Courtesy Hunters Point

Cortez, where Hunters Point is situated, is famed for its white sand beaches and historic fishing villages. Despite its modest size of just more than 4,000 residents, it’s gaining attention for its approach to home resilience.

Gobuty lamented that residential projects often lag behind in sustainability.

“There’s a lot of museums and commercial buildings, but residential is really like a step-sister. It’s not been traditionally dominant for LEED,” he said. LEED, a certification by the US Green Building Council, ensures a building’s sustainable design and energy efficiency.

A view of the open floor plan. Courtesy Hunters Point
The living room. Courtesy Hunters Point

Gobuty’s team spent 18 months testing their prototype homes through various simulated seasonal changes before construction. They opted for a mix of solar and battery power, using German startup sonnenBatterie for their energy needs.

“We’re generating 35% more power than we modeled and we’re consuming 25% less,” Gobuty said.

Hunters Point homes feature 2×6 insulation boards instead of the typical 2×4. “It creates resiliency, strength, and as well keeps this envelope tight,” Gobuty said.

Their “blower door” tests, which measure how much air escapes a home, outperformed industry standards.

Each home offers about 1,650 square feet of living space. Courtesy Hunters Point
A front porch. Courtesy Hunters Point

From the outset, the homes at Hunters Point were designed to withstand major storms, built 16 feet above sea level. “We built these homes to be able to deal with the climate crisis,” Gobuty told Insider.

Each lot occupies 3,300 square feet, and each single-family home has an interior space of about 1,650 square feet.

Some have three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, and one half-bathroom, and HOA fees are $450 a month, according to one Zillow listing. The ground floor of the three-story units has a garage with two spaces, per the listing.

When Hurricane Ian hit in 2022, only three homes were completed. By the time Hurricane Idalia rolled through a year later, more than 20 Hunters Point homes stood strong. “We had a king-size surge that completely covered the docks,” Gobuty added.

The kitchen. Courtesy Hunters Point
A bedroom. Courtesy Hunters Point

Yet, life went on as usual for the residents.

“We woke up the next morning just like normal,” Hunters Point resident William Fulford previously told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s a damn strong house.”

Hurricane Ian alone destroyed nearly 5,000 homes.

The community is attracting both young families and retirees.

“There are young families that have bought in that are very sustainability and resiliency-centric, and they love it,” Gobuty said. “Then we’ve got some retirees that just love the fact that they don’t have utility bills.”

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