Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
Thank you. Please check your inbox to confirm.
Editor’s note: Francesc Ortega and Suleyman Taspinar are economics professors at Queens College, City University of New York. This analysis is being published here in collaboration with EconoFact, a nonpartisan economic publication.
The chance of large-scale coastal flooding episodes is increasing. In the last few decades, sea levels have been rising steadily at about 3 centimeters per decade and many estimates expect that this rate will accelerate going forward. At the same time, the population living in coastal counties in the United States grew by 40 percent between 1970 and 2010 and is projected to continue rising. Are people considering the increased risk of flooding associated with sea level rise in their housing decisions? Looking at what happened to property values in New York City after Hurricane Sandy gives us a first look at how those on the front lines may be responding.
WHAT THIS MEANS
A timely revision of beliefs about the risks entailed by climate change is important to remain optimistic about the adoption of policies and innovations to help coastal cities adjust. Our findings suggest that, in some cases, catastrophic events — and the economic disruption they bring forth — may be needed to create awareness regarding the changing risks associated with climate change. Five years after Hurricane Sandy, housing prices in New York City’s flood zone have seen an 8 percent reduction when compared to similar properties with lower flooding risks. Unlike findings from other floods, where prices drop sharply following the event but only for a short period of time, the price decline in the flooding-zone following Sandy shows no sign of fading for now.
Francesc Ortega is a professor of economics at Queens College, CUNY.
Suleyman Taspinar is a professor of economics at Queens College.
Additional Support Provided By: