How climate change is impacting the housing market

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AUSTIN (KXAN) – Since 1880, Earth’s sea level has risen 8″-9″ as a result of climate change. About a third of that change has happened in the last two-and-a-half decades. That change is having huge consequences on the housing market.

In 2016, the then-chief economist for the federal mortgage giant Freddie Mac, Sean Becketti, warned that rising seas “appear likely to destroy billions of dollars in property and to displace millions of people.”

One of the areas feeling this impact firsthand is the coast of Florida. The Miami area in particular is sinking roughly 1-3mm a year into the ocean. According to John Upton of Climate Central, this is a result solely from “Land Subsidence”.

What is land subsidence?

Over 15,000 years ago, a massive ice sheet stretched over most of Canada and down to modern-day New England and the mid-west. The heavy ice compressing the earth beneath it, causing surrounding land to curl upward.

When the ice sheet melted, the land beneath it sprung up, like a see-saw. This caused areas south of the former ice sheet, like Florida and Texas, to sink. While the land in New England is actually rising.

If the oceans and atmosphere continue to warm, the sea level along the Florida coast is likely to rise one to four feet in the next century. Combine this with land subsidence and over 120,000 properties are now at risk, causing a huge hit to the coastal housing market in the state.

Home sales in areas most vulnerable to sea-level rise began falling around 2013, researchers found. Prices eventually followed. According to date from Zillow, home prices in the state fell 7.6% from 2016 to 2020.

Then there’s Texas. Approximately, three million coastal properties in Texas are at risk to a similar decline as Florida. Between 2015 and 2017, property valued at nearly seventy million dollars was destroyed by erosion, according to researchers from the First Street Foundation and Columbia University.

Coastal homes in Galveston were hit hardest, losing $9.1 million in value. By 2045, more than 300,000 existing coastal homes will be at risk of regular flooding.

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