As Tides Rise, So Do Prices for Oceanside Properties

Florida already has 120,000 properties at risk of tidal flooding, according to the academic consortium Sea Level Rise, a number expected to climb along with sea levels.

New data released Thursday suggests the risks aren’t bothering homebuyers, as oceanfront property values in the U.S. are booming even higher than the overall housing market amidst one of the most robust years on record.

Southern Dealmaking

Palm Beach County, Miami, and the Florida Keys will see 17 to 31 inches of sea-level rise by 2060, according to data from local governments, potentially threatening prominent cultural sites like the art deco architectural hub on Miami’s Ocean Drive. Homebuyers, however, seem eminently confident in either the wonders of structural engineering or the race to slow climate change:

  • The median condo value in 86 U.S. oceanfront counties was $305,000 in the second quarter of 2021, up considerably from $236,000 last year, according to property data company ATTOM, as year-over-year prices surged 20% in over half of those desirable counties.
  • ATTOM data shows overall median single-family home and condo prices rose 15%, lagging behind places with scenic nautical views.

“Less-expensive oceanfront condo markets, concentrated in the South, generally showed bigger year-over-year gains, while the most expensive counties, located mainly in the West, showed the smallest,” said ATTOM. In California, legislators and regulators have begun toying with the idea of the state buying and renting out beachfront properties until sea levels rise too high.

Where to Buy: The five cheapest median housing prices are in Atlantic County, New Jersey ($124,000), Jefferson Parish, Louisiana ($135,000), Tampa-adjacent Citrus County, Florida ($145,000), Mobile, Alabama ($148,000), and Onslow County, North Carolina ($155,000).

Where to Bring a Brinks Truck: The most expensive locales are no industry secret. Four — San Francisco ($1,175,000), San Mateo County ($915,500), Marin County ($723,000) and Santa Cruz County ($693,500) — are in California. The other is trendy Brooklyn ($876,250).

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