Loss in property value due to sea level rise and flooding
September 1, 2018 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Sea level rise already causing billions in home value to disappear - "A recent slew of studies show how the housing market is responding to the increasing risk of coastal flooding — with billions in value disappearing as investors wake up to the systemic risk."
"I've always believed that insurance brokers and real estate agents will be more compelling spokespeople for the reality of climate change than scientists."
Climate Change Has Already Hit Home Prices, Led by Jersey Shore - "Sea-level rise is already hitting home prices along the Atlantic Coast, new data shows -- and nowhere harder than the tiny New Jersey town of Ocean City."

Miami Will Be Underwater Soon. Its Drinking Water Could Go First - "The city has another serious water problem."

also btw...
How a Melting Arctic Changes Everything
-Part 1: The Bare Arctic
-Part 2: The Political Arctic
-Part 3: The Economic Arctic
posted by kliuless (55 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
When Red Hook became the hotness after Sandy I was all WTF. Glad people are waking up to reality.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:10 AM on September 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


This is why, when I bought a house recently, I first checked the high end of 100-year sea level rise predictions, and bought 15 miles further inland than that.
posted by aramaic at 10:17 AM on September 1, 2018 [22 favorites]


Predicting the GOP finds a way to bail out wealthy waterfront homeowners on the tax payer's dime.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:19 AM on September 1, 2018 [51 favorites]


The pullquote I would pick from the recent Chris Hayes podcast on climate change is, “the government subsidizes people to build in floodzones.”
posted by cricketcello at 10:30 AM on September 1, 2018 [20 favorites]


The state where this flooding is causing the most damage: Florida.

Also the state where the Governor , Rick Scott, is a climate change denier, so much so that he has banned anyone in his government, especially Florida's EPA, from even using the terms “climate change” and “global warming”.

Talk about not representing your constituency. I expect him to ban orange juice and water sports next. Why did they elect this guy who works so hard against their best interests?
posted by eye of newt at 10:51 AM on September 1, 2018 [15 favorites]


If we're talking about real people losing their houses, then yeah, I feel bad for them. However, when we're talking about "home value" disappearing in the context of investments? It's not "disappearing," it's moving. For every house that's lost value due to being in a flood zone, there are other houses that have gained value for being comparable but on higher, dry ground.
posted by explosion at 10:55 AM on September 1, 2018 [8 favorites]


We're going to build a wall. And we're going to make Poseidon pay for it.
posted by pracowity at 11:04 AM on September 1, 2018 [16 favorites]


“the government subsidizes people to build in floodzones.”

By not having any cost for carbon most (pretty much all really) governments also subsidise pretty much everyone to dump their carbon emissions into the atmosphere causing climate change which causes increased flooding.
posted by biffa at 11:06 AM on September 1, 2018 [12 favorites]


The Republican hard-on for allowing climate change to happen makes more sense when you realize it's how they plan on eliminating California's huge pile of electoral votes -- by eliminating California.

(somewhere in the beyond, Bill Hicks is screaming 'Arizona Bay was supposed to be a fucking JOKE')
posted by delfin at 11:09 AM on September 1, 2018 [8 favorites]


markets, being made of people, can resist information until suddenly switching and panicking. At least there is a substitutable good for flood prone real-estate: not flood prone real estate. We are pretty good at building houses anywhere. Its farmland and aquifers that are harder/impossible to relocate, and our collective default decision to salt the earth.... {mutters curses and walks away}
posted by Anchorite_of_Palgrave at 11:09 AM on September 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


The intertidal property pricing index will sort it all out.

cries
posted by nikaspark at 11:20 AM on September 1, 2018 [15 favorites]


I, for one, am looking forward to the day when i can walk from my house to the bayfront pedestrian boardwalk formerly known as San Pablo Avenue, and then go swimming in the ruins of the Emeryville Ikea like Kevin Costner in Waterworld.

J/K this is all terrible.
posted by turbowombat at 11:36 AM on September 1, 2018 [15 favorites]


Predicting the GOP finds a way to bail out wealthy waterfront homeowners on the tax payer's dime.

It'll be interesting, though, to witness the rhetorical gymnastics they go through to avoid acknowledging climate change while bailing-out their wealthy friends.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:39 AM on September 1, 2018 [6 favorites]


Predicting the GOP finds a way to bail out wealthy waterfront homeowners on the tax payer's dime.

Only for red states or donors. The rest of us are pretty much fucked.

I uh am genuinely curious about how NYC plans to handle this. Well, no. I know there are no plans. I'm more wondering what work arounds we'll duct tape together once lower manhattan is permanently flooded.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:42 AM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


...I will report, however, that beach rentals are still expensive as fuck.
posted by schadenfrau at 11:45 AM on September 1, 2018 [5 favorites]


Interesting articles.

Looking at the Dade County paper, the effect amounts to $3.08 per square foot of living area per year, after correcting for the over-all increase of property values. (A bit more in some models.) Eyeballing the square-feet-per-transaction plot, the median is around 1500 square feet. Average price per square foot over the period seems to be ~$140. So, that seems like a big change. But, the average price has also risen by around $8.5/(sqft yr) since 2010 using the same data.

So, as an individual property buyer, (and assuming the statistics are dominated by non-flood zones), choosing to buy in a flood zone means you'll be making $8.1k/yr instead of $12.7k/yr on your passive investment. And you get to own your own home by the beach. Your insurance probably costs more, but not enough more that you're losing money compared to buying a comparable home in the Ozarks and investing in the stock market.

I'm no expert, but this looks like thoughtful and very carefully considered analysis. Still, it sure seems like we'll need a much bigger effect before individual developers and home-owners start making different choices in numbers large enough to change city planning, much less our approach to greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps that will happen sooner than we expect. One can only hope so. It's certainly a step in the right direction.
posted by eotvos at 11:48 AM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


Animals Are Trying To Adapt To The Gulf Of Maine's 'Marine Heatwave'
GMRI's Andrew Pershing says this decade marks a new era of repeated marine heatwaves, characterized by extended periods of above-average temperatures, in the Gulf. He cites a combination of factors, including general warming of the planet, with all its waters acting as a heat sink. But Pershing says the satellite data are also revealing some specific phenomena: the melting of the Greenland ice-pack is disturbing usual current patterns in the North Atlantic while a blob of warm water, possibly from the sub-tropical gulf stream, is coursing into a deep-water channel on the Gulf's eastern perimeter.
also ghost lobster
posted by XMLicious at 11:58 AM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


John Oliver did a good bit on the flood insurance thing.

My main concern is that lawmakers will rush to bail out (hah, puns!) investors who didn't plan for climate change and companies that exacerbated it. Because we still can't tell the difference between acts of god and acts of human population.

Meanwhile, PR still needs help as we dive into hurricane season again, and Flint still can't get a drink.
posted by es_de_bah at 12:07 PM on September 1, 2018 [6 favorites]


If we're talking about real people losing their houses, then yeah, I feel bad for them.

Real people are losing their homes in Louisiana at least. I can speak from personal experience. But the ones who have to permanently move are fewer than those who have their homes destroyed by a storm and then rebuild more or less in the same place.
posted by tofu_crouton at 12:10 PM on September 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


The Republican hard-on for allowing climate change to happen makes more sense when you realize it's how they plan on eliminating California's huge pile of electoral votes -- by eliminating California.

Which is funny because from a sea-level-rise perspective (other effects notwithstanding), California is at far less risk than, say, every state on the Atlantic or Gulf coasts.
posted by tclark at 12:26 PM on September 1, 2018 [14 favorites]


I believe the reference to California is destruction as a result of wildland fires and drought, not necessarily sea level rise.
posted by sara is disenchanted at 12:53 PM on September 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


Predicting the GOP finds a way to bail out wealthy waterfront homeowners on the tax payer's dime.

Here in Orange County the City of Newport Beach succeeded in convincing FEMA to shrink its coastal flood map in half, saving homeowners millions in flood insurance costs. The City explained that infrastructure improvements in place and planned would provide enough protection and FEMA agreed.

FEMA has been busy updating flood zone maps (our old place in Long Beach was remapped into the highest risk category a year after we bought it) and pulling back a subsidy that kept insurance rates reasonable (it's $3700 per year now), so this reversion of the Newport Beach map seems out of character (and short sighted).

(Uh, yes, lot of rich people do live in Newport Beach, why do you ask?)
posted by notyou at 1:15 PM on September 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


(Er, a flood insurance policy is $3700 a year now; I have no idea about the subsidy or even if it exists anymore.)
posted by notyou at 1:22 PM on September 1, 2018


Hurricane Sandy should have been pretty convincing, but the GOP finds sticking their fingers in their ears while chanting La, la, la, I can't *hear* you. surprisingly effective. They aren't just about protecting profit; they're especially about protecting profit for old industries, the ones financing them, Big Oil, weapons, Big Agribusiness, Real Estate. Insurance companies should be hounding the government to address climate change; they can raise rates, but only so fast.
posted by theora55 at 1:58 PM on September 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


I will report, however, that beach rentals are still expensive as fuck.

yeah bc the rising oceans will eat the beaches, it's not like the sand is gonna back up. we won't have beaches again until the water reaches the fucking deserts so we better enjoy them now.

where is the asteroid i've been so patient
posted by poffin boffin at 2:25 PM on September 1, 2018 [13 favorites]


We need The Sand Guardian
posted by The otter lady at 2:49 PM on September 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


My dad has a PhD in urban planning and spent his 36 year career in the field. He and my mum bought an ocean front condo in Ft Lauderdale and comment on how they keep seeing the beach brought in by truck every year (new sand) and the parking floods sometimes.

To be fair he did have a massive aneurysm in between. That’s all I got.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:27 PM on September 1, 2018 [6 favorites]


I believe the reference to California is destruction as a result of wildland fires and drought, not necessarily sea level rise.

Traditionally, the reference was to earthquake doing away with California, shearing off into the sea, AZ beachfront property, etc. But California gloomerism is pretty flexible these days.
posted by 2N2222 at 3:41 PM on September 1, 2018 [7 favorites]


Don't know the extent that this might be covered in the links, but I read somewhere that there may be an imminent tipping point for Florida, to where you might not be getting flooded every year or two, but that commercial and residential flood insurance becomes unviable.

So, no mortgages, no publicly traded companies, etc.

Made me think of a Florida-style blend of Mad Max and Slab City. Could maybe develop into an unrestrained expression of individuality, or else a raw poverty dystopia, or fringe militia camps, we'll see.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:15 PM on September 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


Made me think of a Florida-style blend of Mad Max and Slab City. Could maybe develop into an unrestrained expression of individuality, or else a raw poverty dystopia, or fringe militia camps, we'll see.

I suspect that, 10 or 20 years from now, it'll be all of those things, with an even worse version of the post-Katrina camps thrown in.

I guess I'm glad I never made enough money to consider buying a beach house?
posted by ethical_caligula at 4:28 PM on September 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


Maybe Trump will have to build a wall around Mar-a-Lago to save it...
posted by Thorzdad at 4:50 PM on September 1, 2018 [2 favorites]


Flood insurance is already ridiculous. For my home, it’s $5800 a year now (in zone 1). It’s expected to more than double as federal subsidies and rules are gradually eliminated.

Mar a Lago is probably 10’ average above mean high tide. (The ocean side that fronts A1A is higher but the west side of the property where the golf course runs along Lake Worth is only 4-6’ above high tide, at best.) The barrier islands are all zone 1. Of course, Mar a Lago is a business and losses will be tax deductible.
posted by sudogeek at 4:59 PM on September 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


"where is the asteroid i've been so patient"?... WE are that giant asteroid.
posted by marvin at 6:56 PM on September 1, 2018 [5 favorites]


The Central Valley of California is actually quite vulnerable to climate change induced sea level rise. There are lots of farms (and now, lots of former farms developed into houses!) that are at or even below sea level. The San Jauquin delta is going to fall apart even more now than it already is, as salt water moves farther into the system. It’s going to be a mess.
posted by rockindata at 7:06 PM on September 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


All the houses along A1A are the fancy mansions. The poor people live in the interior, away from the beach. It’s still not necessarily helpful considering the entire state is about 15 feet above sea level, but if we’re talking about flooding from the ocean inward, the gazillionaires are going to get it first, at least on the Atlantic side. And maybe Mar-a-lago can write off its losses, but good luck collecting that insurance check when the entire Gold Coast is filing claims on some of the nation’s most expensive property. Good luck getting more business revenue when your most affluent patrons watch all their stuff float away and have to permanently relocate. Who’s gonna go golf and eat brunch at the Breakers then, the plebes? Not bloody likely.
posted by Autumnheart at 8:07 PM on September 1, 2018 [4 favorites]


My company keeps making noises about opening an office in FL. We design water treatment plants and pipelines and I suppose they are right that in the short term, there's likely to be money out there to get in on. But I feel weird about it, like we're ripping off the citizens when there's no real way to save them. Desal is in its infancy and like the article said, expensive; add in a lot of toxic waste sites and chronic flooding and even the best water treatment system is likely to be overwhelmed.
posted by emjaybee at 9:46 PM on September 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


It's not just beaches. Housing across the states will have to be rebuilt to endure a different climates than they were built for. In Illinois, it's going to get wet and moist in a way that will introduce rot and mold. In Montana, the tourism industry will suffer as the parks and mountains dry up. The damage will go on and on. A trillion dollar fix to global warming would be a bargain. The more you look at the costs of global warming, the more you realize it's going to affect nearly everything.
posted by xammerboy at 12:01 AM on September 2, 2018 [3 favorites]


Oh, and they say New York is actually one of the cities that may fare best with global warming, because they are taking it really seriously, planning like mad, and actually have resources devoted to the problem.
posted by xammerboy at 12:03 AM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


And if California slides into the ocean
Like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing
Until I pay my bill

posted by Meatbomb at 2:57 AM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


... high end of 100-year sea level rise predictions, and bought 15 miles further inland than that.

Anyone monitoring GOP lawmakers for exactly such personal purchases in anticipation of their decedents' future oceanfront properties?
posted by filtergik at 3:45 AM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Learn to swim, see you down in Arizona Bay
posted by XtinaS at 3:48 AM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


The more you look at the costs of global warming, the more you realize it's going to affect nearly everything.

Heat things up.
Wait for bad things to happen.
Profit!
posted by Thorzdad at 6:07 AM on September 2, 2018


> where is the asteroid i've been so patient

Relax. Apophis is still coming to take us out in 2036.
posted by davelog at 7:55 AM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


In Louisiana, many people have "solved this problem" by building houses that just house people rather than act as investments. Either that or their major investment has been a boat rather than a house and it's been that way for a couple generations. Native folks in Plaquemines Parish evacuate by driving the boat up river. So structures cost less to build than the annual flood insurance. You can buy yourself decades by re engineering what a house is from the typical American/ Alan Greenspan model, or rebuilding it yourself.

We are a poor state anyway, so people are used to the insults already. In these lists, Louisiana will always have a tremendous number of structures, but the value is always much less than Florida, because the structures are cheap to build, and tend to be located next to the nation s oil storage and transport facilities.

You just try and make these companies acknowledge coastal flooding. The Exxon refinery in Beaumont is built half on the "mont", and half in the Neches River. They call it "the lower refinery" and are applying for permits to expand further into the river. The Corps will probably let them.

The Corps permitted SASOL to build a $8 billion facility in wetlands in Lake Charles. There were "subsurface issues" in 2016, increasing the cost to $14billion. Aka, they discovered that their property was a wetland. In 2017, Harvey dropped 50 inches of rain on these construction site, so they took a write down.

So when you have one flood standard, 25 yr, for the companies who are driving everyone s home values down, and another, higher flood standard (100 yr) for residents, people tend to disrespect the FEMA FIRM standards, because they don't apply to the oil and gas industry. Good luck trying to tell people they really should build to the 500 yr standard, reality-wise.
posted by eustatic at 8:06 AM on September 2, 2018 [5 favorites]


if we’re talking about flooding from the ocean inward, the gazillionaires are going to get it first, at least on the Atlantic side.

Depends on where in Florida. Looking at the Space Coast (PDF) the beachfront property is practically on a mountain at 10 ft, but the homes closer to the Banana and Indian rivers are goners, not to mention most of Merritt Island, and many of the connecting causeways. But there's a mix of rich and poor and in-between in all of these areas.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:14 AM on September 2, 2018


corrected link on Permit applications for Exxon.
posted by eustatic at 9:17 AM on September 2, 2018


Anyway my point is that the United States' oil addiction means that there are lower engineering standards for the oil industry, which has in no way changed since Katrina or Harvey or any other climate disaster. And everyone, including california and new york, seems fine with that, because y'all make the revenue from it without many of the risks. There's a small GOMESA tax to pay for , but it doesn't do much.

Those two states tend to be where the insurance capital is. Along with Riyadh, London, and Moscow--i would bet these are the five big places where the insurance, self-insurance, and re-insurance decisions are being made, and they are made without any local input and information.

In Texas and Louisiana, we have to live next to and underneath these things. We drive past them daily. They are always in the news, right before we sit down with our bills and finances. it always feels like you guys are leaving the elephant out of the conversation when we talk about flood risk and insurance in the United States.
posted by eustatic at 10:04 AM on September 2, 2018 [3 favorites]


lower engineering standards for the oil industry

Oh, it's not just that -- API 4F, for example, has referenced an antiquated engineering standard for decades. When they recently updated their references, they updated to a version that's still thirty years old and which has been superseded several times already.

Wanna know another group with the same reliance on antiquated standards that aren't supported by modern industry?

The NYC Department of Buildings.
posted by aramaic at 10:33 AM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Florida...Could maybe develop into an unrestrained expression of individuality, or else a raw poverty dystopia, or fringe militia camps, we'll see.

Business as usual!

There's plenty of money to be made in flood control. Don't stifle the biznus!
posted by BlueHorse at 11:17 AM on September 2, 2018




I just flew out of Fort Lauderdale International yesterday. As we flew eastward over the beach gaining altitude after takeoff, looking north towards the city itself, I told my fourteen year old to imagine how much of that real estate is going to be under water in a few decades, how much it's worth, and how we're collectively doing nothing about it. The perils of having a geographer as a father.
posted by mollweide at 3:45 PM on September 2, 2018 [2 favorites]


And if California slides into the ocean
Like the mystics and statistics say it will
I predict this motel will be standing
Until I pay my bill
--Meatbomb

A bit of history about the whole 'California falling into the ocean' thing as referred to by Meatbomb: There was a very popular psychic named Edgar Cayce who lived until the 1940s, and remained popular well into the 1960s (and, of course, still has followers today) who made a number of major predictions that supposedly came true. One of his biggest predictions was that California would have a big earthquake and fall into the ocean. However, this was all supposed to happen in the 1960s, which won't stop people from thinking he predicted it when a big earthquake does, inevitably come.

To get more on topic, the first sign of a rising ocean shows up in storms that flood worse than usual, which is why the most damage in the US is occurring on the East coast, but eventually flooding will occur in all coastal cities so we should look at the storm damage as a large red flag warning of what is to come.
posted by eye of newt at 7:48 PM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


The NYC Department of Buildings

Ah yes, the city made out of brick buildings on a bunch of islands that are due for both an earthquake and a hurricane

Wheeeee
posted by schadenfrau at 8:49 PM on September 2, 2018


People (on a whole) aren't terribly good at risk assessment.

Richmond, British Columbia, Canada is at a severe risk of sea level raises, but the greater threat is "a big one" earthquake which would put all of that river delta unto the muck if a big earthquake hit.

Property prices continue to increase unabated (albeit, tempered by regional 'foreign speculation' taxes).

Personally, I'm looking at New Westminster or even Langley (both locations due to realistic commute to where my work will be moving) in the short term, and need to think more about the long term.
posted by porpoise at 8:20 PM on September 3, 2018 [1 favorite]


> This is why, when I bought a house recently, I first checked the high end of 100-year sea level rise predictions, and bought 15 miles further inland than that.

I've been meaning to come back to this - one's house may survive the rising waters, but if your regions economic center is underwater, then there probably won't be much to living there at all.

Related, the Mississippi is gonna jump it's banks finally and takeover the Atchafalaya. There's really no other option for it to go - it is how river deltas work and the more money spent to prevent it the worse it will be when the change happens. Preparing for this would pretty much mean relocating the folks downstream of the Atchafalaya and building a levee / canal systems around either of them so transport to the middle of the US wouldn't be interrupted when the cutover happened.
posted by mrzarquon at 12:33 PM on September 4, 2018


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