Tuesday, January 02, 2018

It's Called "Climate Gentrification"

The term is used to differentiate coastal properties by their elevation above sea level. After all, there aren't many homeowners keen to share their livingroom with the ocean, right? Particularly low-lying and, hence, flood prone properties are already seeing prices wane. As America is forced to accept the reality of sea level rise and coastal storm events of increasing frequency, intensity and duration, insurance will become harder to get and costlier, further suppressing prices. The smart money types are already getting antsy, looking for high ground.

The poor are also getting antsy. They're the first victims of any sort of gentrification. They're the miners' canary in places such as low-lying Miami.

Research from Harvard shows a link between elevation and price appreciation in Miami neighborhoods. Properties at higher elevations in Miami-Dade County have been increasing in value since 1971. For the most part, that’s been due to non-climate factors. But since 2000, the correlation has grown stronger.

That could be a sign of preference for properties that are more resilient to flooding. Florida has certainly seen more than its fair share of rising seas and climate-fueled storms. And nationwide, coastal homes at risk of inundation are beginning to lose value.

Climate gentrification — a new phrase to describe climate change’s transformation of real estate markets — could have huge repercussions. If real estate values start to decrease rapidly for high-risk properties, we could be on the cusp of a foreclosure crisis, Harvard researchers say.

In addition, wealthy people might crowd mixed-income areas, pushing out longtime residents. “People’s lives, their livelihoods, and their culture” are at stake, Mustafa Santiago Ali, senior vice president of the Hip Hop Caucus, told CBS.

Meanwhile, if you've had your fill of the Polar Vortex and would prefer more balmy conditions, why not try Alaska?

Climate scientist Daniel Swain attributes the cold in the east and the warmth out west to a continent-wide weather pattern similar to the one that ushered in California’s megadrought a few years ago. There’s evidence that shrinking Arctic ice is making extreme patterns like this more likely.

Speaking of shrinking ice, December has been downright balmy in Alaska. Frozen rivers — the highways of the North during winter — still haven’t frozen. The sea ice is in “shockingly bad” condition for native hunters.

Parts of 40 states, including Arizona, have been colder than Anchorage so far. And earlier this month, Sitka, Alaska, set a new record for the warmest low temperature ever recorded in Alaskan wintertime: 53 degrees.


Toby said...

What many of the super rich are doing is buying multiple properties in various places around the world. This gives them choices when the fecal matter hits the fan. Most of us can't afford that and have to make do where we are.

Anonymous said...

There was an excellent CBC Radio report from Miami about a week ago. The intrepid reporter asked a real estate agent if there were mortgage restrictions on selling beachfront properties. It's all legal protested the agent, thirty year mortgages are still available with no caveats. Gives some idea of the brainpower involved - none. Someone else will pay if it all goes to hell is no doubt the bankers' plan, just like 2008.