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Homes in 8 states have lost billions in potential value

Posted by Editor on September 14, 2018
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Rising sea levels are putting more homes at risk of flooding and leaving a long, expensive trail of destruction. In eight states alone, flooding has caused nearly $14.1 billion in lost value to homeowners, according to a new study by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates for solutions to rising sea levels.

In an earlier study, researchers had found that $7.4 billion in potential home value appreciation had been swept away in five southeastern states: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.

But in an update to that study, researchers found that homeowners lost nearly $7 billion in home value in just three states: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The tri-state area is home to some of the priciest real estate in the U.S., and it has lost nearly as much in property value as Florida, which is known for frequent storms, the researchers note. The high home prices in that area are mostly the reason the loss is so high.

Ocean City, N.J., surpasses Miami Beach as the city hardest hit in the eight states researchers have studied so far. The Jersey Shore community has seen about 12,000 residents lose more than $530 million of potential real estate value from 2005 to 2017. Miami Beach lost $337 million during that same period.

Home values have still increased during the last decade in many of these flood-prone areas. Developers and local officials believe resiliency measures, such as elevating homes and building sea walls, could help protect against some of the flooding risks. In Ocean City, city officials are taking efforts to replenish beaches and dunes to help protect oceanfront homes. Homes near the ocean are also now required to be elevated. The city has a $100 million capital plan to elevate streets and upgrade its drainage systems and pumping stations to help prevent catastrophic flooding.

Some homebuyers may be growing more skittish about homes near the water. Homes near rising sea levels tend to sell at a 7 percent discount compared to similar properties that aren’t at as much risk, according to a separate study from researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Pennsylvania State University.

Source: “Flooding Risk Knocks $7 Billion Off Home Values, Study Finds,” The Wall Street Journal (Aug. 25, 2018) [Log-in required.]

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