Say, Is ‘Climate Change’ Causing Problems With Home Values Near The Sea?

Spoiler alert: no, it isn’t

Are Coastal Home Values Feeling Drag of Climate Change?

For sale: waterfront property with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean. Waves erode beach regularly. Flooding gets worse every year. Saltwater damage to lawn.

Asking price: anyone’s guess.

Some research suggests rising sea levels and flooding brought by global warming are harming coastal property values. But other climate scientists note shortcomings in the studies, and real estate experts say they simply haven’t seen any ebb in demand for coastal homes.

So how much homeowners and communities should worry, and how much they should invest in remedies, remains an open question.

Climate scientists should probably consult with real estate experts. Take a look at sites like Zillow, and you’ll see that properties near the shores are doing just fine.

Nearby, Denis Champagne can’t be sure that rising seas are hurting his waterfront home’s value. The three-story, four-bedroom home has views of a scenic marsh, has been renovated and is blocks from the ocean — yet was assessed around $420,000.

“Do I feel that it should be worth more than that?” Champagne said recently in his sun-soaked living room. “I mean, I’m biased, but where can you find this for that price — anywhere?”

Massachusetts has three official NOAA tide gauges, which show .93 feet over 100 years (Boston), .94 feet over 100 years (Woods Hole), and 1.21 feet over 100 years, the last being an island, and, really, right at what the average should be during a Holocene warm period. None show acceleration or anything unusual.

A drop in home values could shatter a community like Salisbury, which relies almost exclusively on beachfront real estate taxes to fund schools, police and other basic services, researchers warn. And, they say, families could face financial ruin if they’ve been banking on their home’s value to help foot the bill for pricey college tuitions or retirement.

“People are looking at losing tens of thousands of dollars of relative value on their homes,” said Jeremy Porter, a data scientist for the First Street Foundation, which describes itself as a “not-for-profit organization of digitally driven advocates for sea level rise solutions” on its Facebook page. “Not everyone can sustain that.”

Still, home prices in coastal cities have been rising faster than those of their landlocked counterparts since 2010, according to data provided by the National Association of Realtors.

It’s great when they throw cold water on the cold water of ‘climate change’ doom.

And waterfront homes are still generally more expensive than their peers just one block inland, said Lawrence Yun, the association’s chief economist.

“The price differential is still there,” he said. “Consumers are clearly mindful that these climate change impacts could be within the window of a 30-year mortgage, but their current behavior still implies that to have a view of the ocean is more desirable.”

Essentially, most people do not care, and arean’t buying into the scaremongering.

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One Response to “Say, Is ‘Climate Change’ Causing Problems With Home Values Near The Sea?”

  1. Dana says:

    It isn’t just global warming which threatens oceanfront homes, but violent weather; you should have seen the damage hurricanes and nor’easters did to the pricey homes in the Sandbridge area of Virginia Beach did when I lived in the area. And the taxpaying citizens of the area kept demanding that the city replenish the sand lost to storms, and some wanted to go against ordinances and build seawalls, and all sorts of things. Insurance on such properties was hideously high, if you could get it at all.

    But people still bought, and prices were still high.

    Perhaps it’s because homes have become a disposable asset. When people contract for a thirty year mortgage, how many of them actually intend to live in that home for thirty or more years? I’m guilty of that myself: we contracted our first thirty year mortgage twenty-eight years ago, and that was four houses ago. We contracted another thirty year mortgage in 2002, though we refinanced to a fifteen year mortgage later on. Still, we hadn’t paid off that house when we sold it to move to the farm. (No mortgage on the farm; we paid cash.)

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