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Report: Sea Level Rise Worries Home Buyers

  • Jim Randle

FILE - Tim Betts removes a horseshoe pit that he recently built at his family's beachfront home that is sitting off of its foundation in Washaway Beach, Washington.

FILE - Tim Betts removes a horseshoe pit that he recently built at his family's beachfront home that is sitting off of its foundation in Washaway Beach, Washington.

Worries about rising sea levels are hurting U.S. home sales in some high-risk areas.

The information comes from an analysis by ATTOM Data Solutions, which tracks real estate sales, prices and trends in the United States.

Senior Vice President Daren Blomquist says data over the past year show a 4.8 percent decline in home sales in the markets with very highest risk of hurricane storm surge. He considers storm surge risk an indicator of threat from rising sea levels. At the same time, markets with the lowest category of risk saw a nearly 4 percent increase in sales. Over the past five years, home sales in low-risk areas rose nearly three times more than those at the highest risk.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says sea levels will rise in coming decades as rising temperatures make the huge volume of ocean water expand, and melting affects polar ice and mountain glaciers. The EPA says studies project a global sea level rise of between one-third of a meter and about 1.3 meters by 2100.

In the United States, Key West, Florida, an island in the Gulf of Mexico, is at the highest risk. Other parts of Florida, and coastal areas of North Carolina and Texas also are facing risks.

The data is part of a study by ATTOM that shows 2016 home sales increasing twice as fast in counties with low overall natural hazard risk compared to high-risk areas. Analysts examined 3,000 U.S. counties and evaluated their risk from floods, earthquakes, tornados, wildfires, hurricanes and hail. Taking the entire menacing list into account, areas of Oklahoma and California were at greatest risk.

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