If environmental and emissions trends hold steady, rising sea levels and typical annual flooding will put more than 386,000 homes at risk by 2050.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that by 2050, up to $106 billion worth of coastal property will likely be below sea level. That projection also would see the displacement of roughly 126 million people — or 40 percent of the U.S. population.

As the effects of climate change compound to worsen over time, the United States faces an even bleaker picture by the year 2100: 2.5 million homes worth $1.3 trillion would be at risk, according to NOAA. If carbon emissions are moderately cut in the next 80 years, 1.3 million current homes worth $714.9 billion sit on land that’s expected to be at risk of inundation of sea level rise and the type of flooding that currently happens once a year, on average.

In 2017, about 95,000 National Flood Insurance Program policyholders submitted claims in the amount of $8.7 billion, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

What Investors Should Know

Experts say a new part of a coastal investor’s due diligence is to investigate a property’s susceptibility to king tide flooding — now and well into the future with current trends in mind. Investors can obtain a detailed analysis of a property’s flood risk for about $200 in Florida. 

In one of the largest nation-wide analysis of its kind, Climate Central and Zillow have isolated the number of new homes in low-lying coastal areas in all 24 coastal states, projecting how many will become exposed to chronic ocean flooding over the coming decades.

Below you can see what areas are designated risk zones versus safer areas. Click on each state for more detail. And below this map, you can explore how many homes are in “risk zones,” based on a variety of conditions and emissions scenario.


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  • Bobby Burch

    Bobby Burch is the Founder of Bobby Burch Creative, a small business storytelling studio. Learn more about bobbyburchphotography.com and contact him at bobbyburchcreative@gmail.com

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