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Waking up to the sound of crashing waves, stepping outside to feel the sand between your toes, watching the sunset over the water – doesn’t this sound magical? There are many of us that dream of living near the water and having the ability to experience these small joys in life. However, while properties along the water are desirable, they are typically limited. This would mean that the value of the homes would increase, right? Not necessarily.

Due to the rise of sea levels, the property value of waterfront properties is depreciating. Since 2005, more than $7.4 billion of home value has been lost due to sea level rise flooding in areas like Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and Georgia. Using historical property sales data from 2005 to 2017, scientists from First Street Foundation found that depreciation is already occurring from frequent tidal flooding. Flooding not only impacts the homes property value but neighborhood flooding – this includes the magnitude of nearby roads that also flood – will have an impact on the slower appreciation of the property value.

This study found that neighborhood flooding has a more significant effect on the property value than the flooding of the property lot itself. According to Jeremy Porter, a professor at Columbia University and statistical consultant at First Street Foundation, “We found that nearby road flooding actually accounts for two-thirds of the property value loss across the coastal area of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and the entire state of Florida.”

This isn’t to say that demand isn’t still high or that the end is in sight. Experts reported that even a few months after Hurricane Sandy hit, property values had rebounded. There are also methods that can be conducted for both current and prospective homeowners to utilize in protecting their homes from depreciation as a result of rising sea levels.

Be familiar with your city’s plan

Contact your local elected official to become familiar with the city’s plan to address sea level rise and flooding. This includes finding out if there are any future plans for building infrastructure to prevent flooding or if the city will accommodate the request of building infrastructure if the community members requested it.

Protect your home

Approximately one-fifth of all National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) claims come from homeowners outside of high-risk flood zones. While it is not required for homeowners that are not in 100-year floodplains to buy flood insurance, those in low to moderate risk areas should consider purchasing flood insurance as well.


There are some methods that you can implement, such as a flood vent or raising your home to help minimize the impacts of flooding and preserve your home’s equity. Additionally, homeowners can clear their gutters, drains, and downspouts, and even raise their HVAC systems, plumbing and electric meters above flood levels.