Miami-Dade Home Values Influenced By Rising Seas (Research)

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Single-family homes near sea level in Miami-Dade County are increasing in value at a slower rate than ones at elevation, according to a new research study published in Environmental Research Letters. Titled Climate gentrification: from theory to empiricism in Miami-Dade County, Florida, the study was conducted by Jesse M Keenan, Thomas Hill, and Anurag Gumber.

“This article has demonstrated that the elevation of one’s home in MDC could matter in terms of long-term price appreciation. The findings would suggest that a consumer preference may exist in favor of higher elevation properties,” stated the study authors.

Miami is well-known for its appealing weather, inviting beaches, and nightlife. It also has an average elevation of about six feet above sea level with a high point of just 42 feet. One prediction says there will be 2 feet of sea level rise in the Miami area by 2060.

 Another is that sea level rise will be 6.6 feet by 2100. Miami Beach has an elevation of about 4 feet. If sea levels do continue rising, parts of Miami will be underwater, and the economic impacts very likely will be enormous.

A report from the National Wildlife Federation stated, 

“While “mega cities” like New York and Miami have the most economic assets at risk, poorer areas along the coast have less ability to adapt to or escape the impacts of sea-level rise and extreme weather events. This means they, too, are highly vulnerable to impacts of climate change, which threatens important values such as social and cultural cohesion.”

The coastal areas around Miami have been developed greatly with high-rise residential buildings, office structures, shopping areas and transportation infrastructure. However, the area wasn’t designed to be able to handle rising sea levels combined with tropical storms like the recent spate of hurricanes.

Gentrification has pushed scores of Americans out of urban centers, but now climate gentrification may add to that effect.

 Some of these concerns may seem too far into the future to worry us now. Flooding in south Florida is happening now though, “But coastal communities are already experiencing more storms and extremely high tides known as king tides. In the same study, Wdowinski found there were a total of 16 flood events in Miami Beach from 1998 to 2005. From 2006 to 2013, there were 33.”

Additionally, the extra flooding apparently is not an outlier, but is a trend, “A separate study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, released earlier this year, projected that tidal flooding in East and Gulf coast states will only get worse. By 2045, nearly one-third of the gauges analyzed could see 180 floods a year. That’s 30 years from now, the lifetime of a mortgage.”

The home value research raises many questions. Are local homeowners in areas with lower elevations aware of potential flooding increases? Are they considering selling and leaving for higher ground or exiting all of south Florida? Is the same or a similar effect occurring north of Miami along the coast like in Palm Beach and Jupiter?

Image Credit: Averette, Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0

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Jake Richardson

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