Buying your first house is an experience you will never forget. The homeowners insurance that comes with it might be something you'd rather not remember. "We sat at the closing table and they were reading off these numbers and I was like, ‘oh, that's a lot more than I thought it was going to be," said homeowner Chris Long. Long and his fiancée bought their house for $180,000; their yearly insurance rate is nearly $1,900. "That sounds like a lot to me and it feels like a lot to me, especially when I know people who own much more expensive homes and are were paying what I’m paying now," added Long. A rate increase went into effect May 1st in New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties. On average, there was a $470 per year increase for a $150,000 house. "Not only were we getting an increase of 30 percent, which is the highest in the state, but 43 other counties were getting a decrease," pointed out Kathleen Riely of Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors. Riely said enough is enough. She created the group The Cape Fear Coalition of Concerned Citizens, or CFC3, to be a voice for frustrated residents. "What we would like to see is changes in the legislative process that will benefit all North Carolina residents that will give more transparency to the process - that will allow public comment," Riely said. CFC3 explains everything from a history of coastal insurance, to how increases are affecting the Cape Fear region, to lawsuits that have been filed over the issue. House Bill 1305 could go before the House Finance Committee as early as Wednesday. It addresses a number of elements within the beach plan and may bring about some relief for local homeowners.
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