Real estate

More than $34 billion in US real estate could be flooded by 2050, analysis finds

Higher high tides, supercharged by rising sea levels, could inundate all or part of an estimated $34 billion in real estate along the country’s coasts in just 30 years, a new report concludes. .

Over the course of a 30-year mortgage, up to 64,000 buildings and about 637,000 properties along the ocean and its waterways could be at least partially below tide level, the organization told nonprofit Climate Central in a report released Thursday morning.

Seas are expected to rise from 8 inches to 23 inches along the nation’s coasts by 2050, with higher increases along the northern Gulf Coast and mid-Atlantic. As the oceans rise, every additional inch of water is expected to move further inland, worsening flooding and putting more properties at risk.

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Taxpayer money going to local governments will dwindle as rising waters claim homes and land, lower property values ​​and have a ripple effect on communities, said Don Bain, senior engineer and adviser to ClimateCentral.

The analysis concluded that these losses could triple by 2100 in counties connected to the sea, depending on whether the world can contain warming temperatures.

The nonprofit organization looked at tax assessment data from 328 counties across the United States and property boundaries and elevation at tidal levels. Here’s what his analysis revealed:

Submarine

More than 48,000 properties could be entirely below high tide lines by 2050, mostly in Louisiana, Florida and Texas.

Nearly 300,000 buildings could be at least partially underwater by 2100. The value of buildings and properties below high water mark could reach $108 billion, not including some 90 counties where the body aims to nonprofit was unable to obtain tax assessor data.

Parishes under pressure

Louisiana’s lower-lying parishes — where land subsidence is compounding the effects of rising sea levels — are expected to bear the brunt of the impacts. The analysis shows that about 8.7% of the state’s total area could be below water level by 2050.

Thirteen parishes rank in the top 20 among all counties and parishes for the most acres potentially below water level by 2050. More than half of the land in six parishes could then be below water level. water, including Terrebonne, LaFourche, St. Charles, St. Marie, St. Bernard and St. Jean-Baptiste.

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Elevation Matters

A scattering of counties across five other states could also feel greater impacts.

Hudson County in New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Manhattan, is one of them, with more than 15% of its total area below predicted higher water levels. It leads all counties in the country with an estimated value of land and buildings at risk: more than $2.4 billion.

Also among the top 20 counties with the most acres projected below water level by 2050 are:

  • Middlesex, along the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia
  • Monroe, home of the Florida Keys
  • Jefferson, Texas on the northern Gulf Coast at Beaumont
  • Dare, Tyrell, and Currituck counties along the Outer Banks and Albemarle Sound in North Carolina

Among the counties with the highest land values ​​at stake are:

  • Galveston, Texas, $2.37 billion
  • Honolulu, Hawaii, $2.3 billion
  • Washington, DC, $1.4 billion
  • Miami-Dade, Florida, $1.3 billion

losing land

Up to 4.4 million acres could fall below the shorelines that mark the line between private property and public lands by 2050, a number the report estimates will double by 2100. The majority of these land in 2050 – 3.8 million acres – lies in just four states: Louisiana, Florida, North Carolina and Texas.

“Your land is going to be taken away from you by the rising seas,” Bain said. “Nobody talks about that.”

The analysis used the relevant tidal boundary for each state, be it mean low water mark, mean high water mark, or mean high water mark, and then calculated the terrain at the within each property which could fall below this limit as the sea rises.

They calculated the exposed assessed value for properties that could be newly affected by higher waters and multiplied each property’s value by the predicted fraction below the line. They used the value of an entire building when one of the buildings is at or below the line.

The loss in assessed value could have a huge impact on the budgets of many cities and counties, said AR Siders, assistant professor at the Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware. “If a city has no other revenue and relies solely on property tax values, that city is not sustainable.”

Hudson County, New Jersey has the highest value of land and buildings at risk from sea level rise, according to a new analysis from Climate Central.

Risky business

Climate Central is one of many groups working to better define the country’s climate risk.

The need for such information is enormous as mortgage lenders, insurers and others try to discern what the future holds and what it means for businesses, Bain said, adding that it is important for the balance sheets of governments, individuals and businesses.

“The impacts of climate change are real,” said Mark Rupp of Georgetown University’s Georgetown Climate Center. “They are happening now and even affecting the business world.

“How many mortgage lenders want to lend for home loans in flood-prone areas, if they don’t think they’re going to be repaid?”

Rupp also pointed to the number of insurance companies that have pulled out of the Florida business or gone insolvent. He said it was essential that local governments get the support of state and federal governments to plan and prepare ahead.

Inspire not scare

The report’s findings are not meant to scare or discourage people, Bain said. He hopes they will empower people with information to influence outcomes and inspire officials at all levels of government to start working together now to pass the necessary laws and regulations.

“It’s not too late to make course corrections,” Bain said. “Fixing this issue is important because it’s a choice between better outcomes and very poor outcomes.”

It’s important to educate and inform people about what they’re up against so they can do the rest, Bain said. “I think we can have a bright and prosperous future, but only if we put our minds and shoulders to it, and are well-informed and pursue.”

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Dinah Voyles Pulver covers climate and environmental issues for USA TODAY. She can be reached at [email protected] or @dinahvp on Twitter.