Life preservers are the hot new housing amenity

As many as 311k homes face being flooded every two weeks within the next 30 years—this is the finding of research recently released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The research was based on projections made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which include 6’+ sea-level gains by century’s end if our current GHG emission rates continue.

These 311k homes—whose current value stands at $120b—are just the beginning, according to The Guardian:  

The losses would multiply by the end of the century, with the research warning that as many as 2.4m homes, worth around a trillion dollars, could be put at risk. Low-lying states would be particularly prone, with a million homes in Florida, 250,000 homes in New Jersey and 143,000 homes in New York at risk of chronic flooding by 2100.

On top of this, areas could be dealing with myriad issues like closed roads, infrastructure damage, and other stuff that would grind our economy to a standstill.

Needless to say, the nation’s largest economic powerhouses—most of which are coastal—are vulnerable. In the next 30 years, many should be okay…except Miami, which is projected to have 25,001 to 150,000 homes experience chronic inundation by 2045.

By 2100 however, few regions will be unscathed. For example, it’s projected that 2,501 to 10,000 homes in parts of lower Manhattan will experience chronic inundation by 2100. Same goes for virtually every other major city: Boston, SF, LA, and Houston (pro-tip: move to Seattle).

As these projections become realities, many things will start unfolding. In the near-term, there will be increased speculative real estate investments in dry areas and significant underwriting issues for wet ones. In the long-term, expect to see major climate-based property devaluation, mass-migrations to high ground (Denver, start building), and god knows what else.

This is the real estate story of the century. And it’s one that will be worked out in terms of planning (which may include more or less abandoning some cities), resilient design, and a dramatic reduction in GHG emissions in every sector. The data is here. Now is the time for the will to respond.

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