Warning: Real Estate Development in Flood Zones Is Surging in Some States
Home buyers in search of a forever house should reconsider looking on the coast. According to a study from Climate Central and Zillow, new houses are continuing to pop up in places that are most vulnerable to rising sea levels, with construction in risk zones outpacing that in safer areas in some states.
New Jersey, a state that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, is the worst offender when it comes to building homes in low-lying flood zones. Between 2010 and 2016, 2982 new houses totaling $2.6 billion in real estate prices were built in risk zones in the state. Behind New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida, and Texas are the states with the most new houses vulnerable to rising ocean levels driven by climate change.
Even in a best case scenario, the future of these properties looks grim. The study finds that even if the world puts moderate restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, roughly 10,000 homes built after 2009 will be at risk of at least yearly flooding by 2050. The numbers are about three times higher by 2100 and five times higher if carbon emissions aren't reined in at all.
The data is even more sobering when houses built prior to this decade are taken into account. If pollution goes unchecked for the next 80 years, 2.5 million built before today, amounting to $1.33 trillion, will be at risk of at least one flood per year.
Seaside homes aren't the only places facing the rising threat of climate change. Many of the world's airports and UNESCO World Heritage sites are also at increased risk of flooding as sea levels rise.
To see how quickly real estate is being developed in high-risk areas in year state, check out the interactive map below.
[h/t IFL Science]