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Climate Change Impact on Real Estate Properties

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

Image source: WXXI News

The effects of climate change in the US has been the subject of debates and discussions by experts, environmentalists, and ordinary citizens for years now. The National Climate Assessment report, which was directed by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee, reveals that the US average temperature has grown by 1.3 to 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, with most of the increase happening in 1970. As a result, Americans have become aware of how climate change could impact US real estate prices, given the continuous rise in sea-level over the years.

This threat creates bigger issues for waterfront real estate properties. In fact, a 2015 study from the University of North Carolina Wilmington found that oceanfront property values in the US could decrease if federal subsidies were removed. Higher insurance costs and surges in property values will obviously follow.

A study using data from Zillow, while still under peer review, found that properties exposed to increasing sea levels sell at a 7 percent discount to comparable properties that are not exposed to climate-related risk. In Alabama for example, a wide range of impacts of climate change have been observed, as outlined in the website of Sierra Club – Alabama Chapter, in terms of temperature, heat and wildfire, drought and precipitation, agriculture and farming, forestry and ecosystems, and sea level rise and coastal flooding.

More wildfires, unforeseen calamities and floods are expected to worsen the situation, so real estate developers and property owners alike are continuously finding ways to deal with this looming scenario. If you are a shoreline owner, you can start taking precautionary steps to avoid the possible losses associated with calamities brought about by climate change. Keeping the surrounding area of the property as natural as possible, maintaining and taking care of your property’s health and biodiversity, and managing pests to prevent the occurrence of diseases are just a few examples.

Finally, do not wait for catastrophic events to happen before you consider protecting your property, whether you intend to sell it in the future, rent it out or just simply keep it. Talk to an expert that specializes in writing high risk coastal properties, so you can secure the best insurance coverage there is.