The Danger of Buying By the Sea

Zillow has released research on how many of the nation's homes may be underwater (literally) by the year 2100. Florida, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Louisiana are at the highest risk.

1 minute read

August 26, 2016, 11:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Sea Level

Tom Hilton / Flickr

In an attempt to quantify the effect of climate change on housing supply, Zillow has compiled data on how many structures will likely be in danger by the year 2100, if not sooner. 

Krishna Rao writes, "To quantify the impact of rising sea levels, we used maps released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showing which parts of coastal states will be underwater if sea levels rise by six feet. Why six feet? Some estimates suggest sea levels will rise that much by the year 2100 if climate change continues unchecked." 

"Nationwide, almost 1.9 million homes (or roughly 2 percent of all U.S. homes) – worth a combined $882 billion – are at risk of being underwater by 2100. And in some states, the fraction of properties at risk of being underwater is alarmingly high." The coastal homes at risk are worth significantly more than the American average: about $300,000 to the average $187,000.

The article includes a sobering chart showing estimates of how many properties may be affected by 2100, their combined value on the current market, and what fraction of the state's total housing stock they represent. There are also maps of individual cities with potentially flooded areas marked in blue. 

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