February 2017   Volume 43, Number 2      


Rising Sea Levels Are Forcing Agents to Rethink How They Sell Coastal Properties

Real estate agents used to sell coastal properties by focusing on how close the home is to the water’s edge. However, buyers are increasingly asking instead how far away the property is from the waterline. They also want to know how many feet the property is above sea level and if there are emergency and preventive measures to help to secure the property from damage if a storm occurs.

A warming planet has already affected several industries, forcing them to consider the potential future costs of a changed climate. The real estate industry is just starting to awaken to the need to factor in the potential damage caused by rising seas and storm-driven flooding. However, many economists are saying this transformation needs to happen faster and that homebuyers need to be made aware of the risks of buying coastal properties.

Although the demand for coastal properties has remained strong, homeowners across the country are starting to shy away from buying properties in the areas that are most susceptible to the effects of climate change. According to Attom Data Solutions, home sales in flood-prone areas grew about 25 percent slower than in counties that do not typically flood.

“I don’t see how this town is going to defeat the water,” said Brent Dixon, a resident of Miami Beach who plans to move north and away from the coast in anticipation of worsening king tides, the highest predicted tide of the year. “The water always wins.”

These concerns are becoming increasingly urgent after the election of president Donald Trump, who has long been a skeptic of global warming.

In 2016, Sean Becketti, the chief economist for Freddie Mac, made a bold prediction. He said that it is only a matter of time before rising sea levels and storm surges in coastal areas become so unbearable that people will leave and ditch their mortgages. This could potentially trigger another housing crisis, except that this time housing prices will likely never recover.

A 2016 report from CoreLogic, a real estate data firm, found that the state of Florida is home to six of the ten U.S. urban centers most vulnerable to storm surge. Southeast Florida currently experiences ten tidal floods per year on average. Climate researchers estimate that there will be over two hundred floods each year by 2045.

Roughly 40 percent of Americans live and work in coastal areas. While those who can afford it are making the necessary investments to protect their homes, many skeptics worry that these upgrades simply won’t be enough.

Homeowners are also worried about the increasing cost of flood insurance. As the premiums increase, property values decline, which has hurt home prices in places like Atlantic City, N.J.; Norfolk, Va.; and St. Petersburg, Fla., according to local real estate agents.





In this issue:

Tiny Home Neighborhoods Are Popping up Across America

Chinese Developers Reassess U.S. Projects

Commercial Real Estate Market Sees Mixed Results After Election

First-Time Homebuyers Struggle to Find Affordable Homes to Purchase

Hiver CEO Predicts Major Tech Trends in Real Estate for 2017

Homebuilder Confidence Has Increased, but They’re Not Building New Homes

Newly Created S&P 500 Real Estate Sector Continues to Decline

Redfin Predicts 2017 Will Be the Fastest Housing Market on Record

Russian Interest in U.S. Real Estate Increases After Trump Election

Rising Sea Levels Are Forcing Agents to Rethink How They Sell Coastal Properties


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