For decades, experts have predicted the coming demise of coastal properties due to rising seas caused by climate change. Now, evidence indicates, this long-anticipated time has arrived.
The New York Times recently reported on a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study looked at coastal housing in Florida, showing, according to its authors, that “not only is climate change eroding one of the most vibrant real estate markets in the country, it has quietly been doing so for nearly a decade.”
The authors studied 1.4 million home sales from over 20 years. Looking at census tracts, they compared those on land “where more than 70% of developed land is less than six feet above sea level” to those where less than 10% of developed land is in that category.
“For most of that time,” reports the Times, “home sales in both areas rose in lock step, suggesting that buyers weren’t particularly concerned about climate risk.
“Then, starting in 2013, something started to change. While sales in safer areas kept climbing, sales in vulnerable ones began to fall. By 2018, the last year for which [the authors of the report] obtained data, sales in vulnerable areas trailed safer areas by 16% to 20%.”
The most pronounced drop in prices were logged in Miami-Dade County.
While some suggest that rising seas can be managed with infrastructure projects, Keys believes their real estate findings prove that many buyers aren’t convinced of that. “The market already perceives that these substantial infrastructure projects won’t be successful,” he told the Times.