State loses millions in property value due to sea level rise

Concludes a new study
Thu, 01/24/2019 - 6:15pm
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A new study has found that increased sea level rise has “eroded $403.1 million in relative home values” throughout New England between 2005 and 2017.

According to the study, conducted by First Street Foundation and Columbia University, the hardest hit communities in Rhode Island are: Charlestown ($1.6 million in relative home value lost), Watch Hill ($2.8 million), Newport ($2.9 million), Misquamicut ($3.5 million), and Warwick ($4 million). Overall, the study states, Rhode Island lost about $44 million in property value over that 12 year span.

While the study does not calculate the overall losses for other communities, including Block island, an interactive component of the study allows individual homeowners and property owners to enter their addresses to see how much, if any, value was lost in the 12 years between 2005 and 2017, and how much value their property is expected to lose over the next 15 years. That interactive program can be found at FloodiQ.com. Several attempts to find results for specific Block Island properties, however, proved to be problematic for the site’s search engine. (Another guide to sea level impacts can be found at beachsamp.org.)

FloodiQ does include a map of the entire East Coast that projects sea level rise by the year 2045, showing that areas along Corn Neck Road adjacent to the Great Salt Pond, the business district, most of the land directly abutting the Pond, and the west side of the island from north of the Pond to Sandy Point as being hardest hit.

Dr. Jeremy Porter, a professor at Columbia and a statistical consultant for First Street Foundation, states in the press release announcing the study: “Each time we analyze a new state we see the same phenomenon. Increased tidal flooding leads to a loss in home value appreciation. As sea level rise accelerates, we expect the corresponding loss in relative home value to accelerate as well.”

The press release states that this was the first study to “quantify the observed negative impact of increasingly frequent flooding, driven by sea level rise, on the housing market, while other studies have focused on forecasting losses due to the future impacts of sea level rise.”

The study did state that while “most of the affected homes did appreciate over the studied period, they did so at a significantly lower rate than comparable homes unaffected by tidal flooding.”