We’ve seen the words “climate gentrification” before. Now, the term climate gentrification has been coined.

A new joint study by Harvard University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration claims that climate change is altering home values on both the coasts and in inland areas. Jesse Keenan from Harvard indicates that home values on Miami’s coast are, “…already worth -10% less now than they would be if climate change didn’t exist.”

Remember that last year, Zillow forecast that 25% of Miami’s properties may be literally underwater due to sea level rising and climate change.  This would render worthless approximately +200B in real estate.

This joint study forecasts that sea levels will rise and “…overtake vast swaths of real estate.” “Nuisance flooding,” flooding caused by king tides that come inland on sunny days, is already common in some Miami neighborhoods.

Another joint study by the University of Colorado and the University of Pennsylvania corroborates these findings. This study found that homes exposed to sea level rise sell for approximately -7% less than unexposed properties at comparable distances from the beach.

Harvard’s Keenan said that wealthy investors and speculators are already buying up low -income residences in high elevation neighborhoods. One such low-income, high elevation neighborhood in Miami is Little Haiti. Homes bought out of foreclosure, now outliers among $800,000-$100,000 homes, sell for $500,000. Entire rows of once Haitian-owned businesses are now empty and gutted or filled with high-end coffee shops.

Still, some are not convinced rising sea levels and harsher weather conditions are and will change the face of existing landmasses and neighborhoods. The cities of Miami and Miami Beach are, however, convinced. Miami is investing nearly $200M into resilience projects, water pump stations and infrastructure upgrades to deal with climate change. Miami Beach is investing twice that amount to raise sidewalks and build seawalls.

Harvard’s Keenan said, “You can argue with climate gentrification and whether it’s a good theory or not but you can’t argue with the science and the economics behind the proposition that this is a signal. We found it. It’s already happening.”

In addition to climate gentrification, Miami’s drinking water is at severe risk of contamination. The more the area struggles with increased flooding and this summer’s toxic algae blooms, “…the risks to the aquifer grow, and they’re all the more insidious for being out of sight…If Miami-Dade can’t protect its water supply, whether it can handle other manifestations of climate change won’t matter,” according to 8/29/18 article written by Christopher Flaville in Bloomberg News.



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