Real Estate Buyers Beware: Sea Level Rise is Accelerating

To protect their investment, real estate buyers in coastal areas need to find out if a property of interest, neighborhood and community are currently experiencing sea level rise flooding. They also need to find out if and when sea level rise flooding will impact the property in the future.

The last point is difficult because sea level rise projections are constantly changing. Unfortunately, for most locations the change is usually for the worse. For example, a report released January 30 by William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) concluded that the rate of sea level rise is accelerating at most locations along the U.S. coastline.

The scientists studied tide gauge data from 32 locations collected over the last 51 years to reach their conclusion. “Acceleration can be a game changer in terms of impacts and planning, so we really need to pay heed to these patterns,” said VIMS emeritus professor John Boon.

VIMS Marine Scientist Molly Mitchell said, “We have increasing evidence from the tide gauge records that these higher sea-level curves need to be seriously considered in resilience planning efforts.”

When evaluating a piece of property, buyers need to consider how likely it is that sea level rise flooding will impact the property and when it could occur. This is a complicated issue that requires an understanding not only of the flooding risk but what the individual property owner and community can potentially do to prevent the flooding. Another consideration for buyers is how the flooding will impact their property value, maintenance costs, flood insurance premiums and taxes. These issues are discussed in detail in “7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions for Buyers, Sellers, Owners, & Real Estate Agents.”

Author: Larry Richardson

Larry Richardson relies on his journalism, real estate, photography and videography experience and education to create and annual editions of "7 Sea Level Rise Real Estate Questions for Buyers, Sellers, Owners & Real Estate Agents." Richardson, an inactive but licensed real estate agent in Florida with a dozen years of experience, also owns, which features YouTube videos with over 10 million views