Study: Sea Level Starting to Bite Coastal Real Estate

January 9, 2019

Above, Rolling Stone’s Jeff Goodell on the economics and politics of real estate in South Florida – up till recently oblivious to climate change and sea level rise.

Population Research and Policy Review:


Sea-Level Rise (SLR) Projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) indicate increasing, and imminent, risk to coastal communities from tidal flooding and hurricane storm surge. Building on recent research related to the potential demographic impacts of such changes (Hauer et al. 2016, in Nat Clim Chang 3:802–806, 2017; Neumann et al. 2015; Curtis and Schneider in Popul Environ 33:28–54, 2011), localized flooding projections in the Miami Beach area (Wdowinski et al. in Ocean Coast Manag 126:1–8, 2016) and projected economic losses associated with this rise in projected SLR (Fu et al. Ocean Coast Manag 133:11–17, 2016); this research investigates the accrued current cost, in terms of real-estate dollars lost, due to recurrent tidal flooding and projected increases of flooding in Miami-Dade County. Most directly related to this line of research, Keenan et al. (2018) have recently produced results indicating that Climate Gentrification is taking place in Miami, FL with higher elevations in flood prone areas appreciating at a higher rate. In that vein of thinking, we seek to answer a question posed by such research: What is the actual accrued loss to sealevel rise over the recent past? To answer this question, we replicate well-documented estimation methods by combining publicly available sea-level rise projections, tide gauge trends, and property lot elevation data to identify areas regularly at risk of flooding. Combining recent patterns of flooding inundation with future forecasts, we find that properties projected to be inundated with tidal flooding in 2032 have lost $3.08 each year on each square foot of living area, and properties near roads that will be inundated with tidal flooding in 2032 have lost $3.71 each year on each square foot of living area. These effects total over $465 million in lost real-estate market value between 2005 and 2016 in the Miami-Dade area.

9 Responses to “Study: Sea Level Starting to Bite Coastal Real Estate”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    A condo commodity trading pit? Yep. or a Ponzi scheme or casino for rich gamblers, all of whom hope they can get away before SHTF time (or can afford to just write it all off). Of course, the poor “people of color” that will be wiped out are not part of the equation at all.

    A couple of good books I’ve read that are more “real” than what is going on in Miami. (The watermen of Tangier voted 87% for Trump).

    Elizabeth Rush, Milkweed, 2018

    Earl Swift, Dey Street-Morrow, 2018

  2. Terry Donte Says:

    Tangier Island has a problem. A study done a number of years ago identified the problem and suggested solutions. Climate change was not mentioned in that study. The island is simply made of sand, sand moves in currents. The island is busy pumping out ground water which causes the land to sink. The solution in the government study was to put in rock fill and a concrete wall to stop the current erosion and to regulate water pumping to prevent the island from sinking. The whole coast line is actually sinking as well from ground water extraction and a tiny bit from downward movements as the continent adjusted to the loss of the ice which covered the area 12000 plus years ago., it is called rebound.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Read the book by Swift, Terry. He understands what’s happening on Tangier far better than you do.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      The whole coast line is actually sinking as well from ground water extraction and a tiny bit from downward movements as the continent adjusted to the loss of the ice which covered the area 12000 plus years ago., it is called rebound.

      Nerdy note: Most times when discussing isostatic (or glacial) rebound, geologists are referring to the parts of the continental crust which lost ice mass geologically quickly and are slowly moving back up, resulting in lowering local sea levels. The Maryland/Chesapeake situation, where the crust was pushed up to compensate for the nearby encroaching toe of the glacial ice, is suffering the opposite fate, as the crust relaxes back to its former state, resulting in raising local sea levels.

  3. Sir Charles Says:

    World’s Oceans Warming 40% Faster Than Previously Thought

    An analysis of four recent studies of ocean temperatures has corrected some of the discrepancies between climate models that projected higher levels of ocean warming and observational data that turned up lower temperatures, concluding that the higher numbers were right.

    The article, published in Science Friday, shows that the world’s oceans are in fact warming about 40 percent faster than previously thought

  4. Keith McClary Says:

    After a $14-Billion Upgrade, New Orleans’ Levees Are Sinking
    Sea level rise and ground subsidence will render the flood barriers inadequate in just four years.

    “The $14 billion network of levees and floodwalls that was built to protect greater New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina was a seemingly invincible bulwark against flooding.

    But now, 11 months after the Army Corps of Engineers completed one of the largest public works projects in world history, the agency says the system will stop providing adequate protection in as little as four years because of rising sea levels and shrinking levees.

    The agency’s projection that the system will ‘no longer provide [required] risk reduction as early as 2023’ illustrates the rapidly changing conditions being experienced both globally as sea levels rise faster than expected and locally as erosion wipes out protective barrier islands and marshlands in southeastern Louisiana.

    The levees are losing height as they start to settle—a natural phenomenon that is exacerbated by the soft soils in southern Louisiana. Some floodwalls are built into the levees.

    But ‘the global incidence of sea level rise’ also is contributing to the inadequacy of the levees, the Army Corps said in the April 2 Federal Register notice announcing that it is studying system improvements.

    ‘It’s happening a little bit faster than our projections in 2007,’ Roe said.”

    • dumboldguy Says:

      A wasted $14 billion, apparently—-just imagine how much WALL could have been built for that sum along our southern border to stop the FLOOD of criminals, rapists, drug dealers and other scum from all those Mexicos down there. Sad.

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