December 6, 2012

Is climate change affecting property values?

Climate Crocks - It’s been said that we won’t begin to see action on climate change until its effects reach beyond the poor, the vulnerable, and those in the developing world. The concern has been that by the time those effects are obvious to the elite, we will be too far along the road to make much of a difference.

Could it be that Superstorm Sandy has pushed the time clock forward on that? The Atlantic:
All signs are pointing to a slow-but-steady (if uneven) U.S. housing market recovery. But the worst may be yet to come for one valuable slice of the pie: waterfront properties.
Sea level is generally expected to rise three to seven feet by the end of this century. But it could be long before that seaside property values plummet. Oceanographer John Englander puts it this way in his new book, High Tide On Main Street: Rising Sea Level and the Coming Coastal Crisis: “Property values will go underwater long before property actually goes underwater.”

The effect, Englander’s writes, “may begin to be felt within a decade.”

One week after Englander’s book went on sale, Hurricane Sandy slammed into the Northeast coastline, inundating the nation with surreal images of a flooded lower Manhattan and pulverized neighborhoods across coastal Long Island and New Jersey. He now says he’s revised his within-a-decade estimate.

“I think it happened two weeks ago.”

Englander’s only half joking. He’s a respected authority in his field — so much so that in 1997, legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau asked him to take the helm of The Cousteau Society. “I dare say that if you went to go buy coastal real estate in New Jersey right now, you could buy it for a lot less than you could a month ago,” he says. “People are nervous. They know it’s been storm damaged, and when will it happen next?”

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