US property crisis looming as sea levels rise

US property crisis looming as sea levels rise

Researchers combined property data from Zillow with three different sea level rise scenarios calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and found that, in a high sea level rise scenario, $117.5 billion worth of homes, which now house 550,000 people, would be in danger from chronic flooding within the lifespan of a 30 year mortgage. Currently, those homes are worth about $5.9 billion, contribute $51 million annually to the property tax base, and house an estimated 12,000 people.

The study suggests if the United States were to adopt the Paris Agreement, an global plan to limit the effects of climate change, about 87 percent of North Carolina's at-risk homes could avoid chronic flooding by the end of the century.

Chronic inundation is defined in the report as flooding that happens at least 26 times a year. They also predicted that the constant flooding could last 30 years. Homeowners whose properties become chronically inundated may find themselves with mortgages that exceed the value of their homes or face steeply rising flood insurance premiums and may end up defaulting on their loans. The study, conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists, states that within the next 30 years, almost 64,000 homes in Florida will experience flooding every other day, 12,000 of them being in Miami.

By 2045, almost $3.6 billion-worth of residential property (based on today's values) is at risk of chronic flooding.

That would total an estimated $351 billion in loss of home property values. More than a million homes in Florida alone are at risk.

Across Massachusetts, 7,000 homes-worth more than $4 billion-could be impacted by 2045.

Hurricane Sandy flooded the New Jersey shoreline in 2012. This represents 3 percent of the homes in this ZIP code.

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The Maryland homes at risk in 2045 now contribute about $31 million in annual property tax revenue.

"Even if it takes till 2045 for $135 billion in property value to experience chronic flooding, the economic ramifications could be far more significant than even the largest estimates presented in this report and occur substantially earlier than the flooding itself", Bernstein wrote in a statement to CNN. They also pointed out that the vegetable supply could shrink by a third in 2050 if people do not do something about climate change.

Most coastal real estate markets haven't yet been harmed by sea level rise projections. Coastal real estate investors and developers may similarly experience financial losses in some coastal areas.

'The impact could well be staggering, ' said Kristina Dahl, a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) told The Guardian. We can start by doing our part - helping to reduce fossil fuel emissions. The market's bias toward short-term decision-making and profits can also perpetuate risky investment choices.

"Targeting improvements to the policies and market drivers of risky coastal development is essential to better protect communities and move the nation toward greater resilience", said Shana Udvardy, climate resilience analyst at UCS and report co-author.

ALLEN: Real estate in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

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