Experts: Over 300,000 U.S. coastal homes at risk of flooding by 2045

By Ed Adamczyk Contact the Author   |  June 18, 2018 at 11:23 AM
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June 18 (UPI) -- Hundreds of thousands of homes along U.S. coastlines could be flooded in the next 30 years as a result of climate change, scientists said in a new report Monday.

The 28-page report from the Union of Concerned Scientists said more than 300,000 homes in vulnerable areas could see flooding if temperatures rise too much.

The analysis also said as many as 2.4 million homes and 107,000 commercial properties, collectively worth more than $1 trillion, could be similarly affected.

The UCS report is based on property data from real estate company Zillow and said the tidal flooding could happen within 30 years, or the lifespan of an average mortgage.

Using three scenarios developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the UCS estimated the number of properties in the 48 mainland states that could be affected by high tides and regular flooding, not counting major storms.

"What's striking as we look along our coasts is that the significant risks of sea level rise to properties identified in our study often aren't reflected in current home values in coastal real estate markets," said UCS economist and report co-author Rachel Cleetus. "Unfortunately, in the years ahead many coastal communities will face declining property values as risk perceptions catch up with reality."

The report says properties at risk by 2045 contribute $1.5 billion to local tax bases today. Those at risk by 2100 are estimated to contribute $12 billion.

The states with the most at-risk homes are, in order, Florida, New Jersey and New York. More than a million homes in Florida alone are at risk.

The report estimates nearly 175 communities could expect to see 10 percent or more of their homes at risk of chronic flooding by 2045, with nearly 60 of those communities experiencing poverty levels above the national average.

Further, the damage could be irreparable.

"In contrast with previous housing market crashes, values of properties chronically inundated due to sea level rise are unlikely to recover and will only continue to go further underwater, literally and figuratively," Cleetus said.

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