This article discusses how sea level rise is affecting beachfront houses, based on three separate studies.
Boineau is one of many homeowners on the front lines of society’s confrontation with climate change, living in houses where rising sea levels have worsened flooding not just in extreme events like hurricanes, but also heavy rains and even high tides. Now, three studies have found evidence that the threat of higher seas is also undermining coastal property values as home buyers — particularly investors — begin the retreat to higher ground.
On a broad scale, the effect is subtle, the studies show. The sea has risen about eight inches since 1900, and the pace is accelerating, with three inches accumulating since 1993, according to a comprehensive federal climate report released last year. Scientists predict the oceans will rise an additional three to seven inches by 2030, and as much as 4.3 feet by 2100.
By comparing properties that are virtually the same but for their exposure to the seas, researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Pennsylvania State University found that vulnerable homes sold for 6.6 percent less than unexposed homes. The most vulnerable properties — those that stand to be flooded after seas rise by just one foot — were selling at a 14.7 percent discount, according to the study, which is set to be published in the Journal of Financial Economics.
The most-studied market has been Miami-Dade County, parts of which have for years been experiencing regular sunny-day flooding. In a separate paper published in April, researchers at Harvard University found that properties at higher elevations were appreciating faster than properties at lower elevations, a phenomenon they dubbed “climate gentrification.”