Alabama has lost $157M in home values to rising seas, study says

The increased risk of tidal flooding associated with sea level rise has already cost Alabama property owners more than $157 million, according to a study released today by researchers at the non-profit First Street Foundation and Columbia University.

Steven McAlpine, head of data science for the First Street Foundation, said first the researchers analyzed thousands of readings from tidal and river gauges from 2005 to 2017 and mapped the elevation of coastal properties to determine which areas were at increased risk of tidal flooding. Then the researchers analyzed hundreds of thousands of real estate transactions to see what impact increased flood risk had on property sales.

“People like living by the water,” McAlpine said. “In Alabama many of the homes experiencing tidal flooding are beach homes built on stilts, so there is an expectation of flooding to some degree. Still, we are seeing value loss due to the increasing frequency and severity of flooding as people look to buy at higher elevations.”

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