By the year 2100, roughly 42,000 homes along California’s tranquil coastline will be uninhabitable due to rising seas, according to a recent Zillow report.
While 42,000 homes is less than half a percent of the 14+ million homes in the state, the financial loss is still significant — about $50 billion. Worse, the report doesn’t even consider the many homes that won’t be fully under seawater, but subject to excessive inland flooding due to rising sea levels.
Zillow’s report uses data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to determine which homes will be under water if changing climate conditions continue on their present course. At the current rate of change, NOAA forecasts a six-foot sea level rise by the year 2100.
The California city to experience the most homes lost to rising seas is Long Beach. Here, 5,100 homes will be under water by 2100. This includes all of Naples and much of Belmont Shore and Peninsula.
In second place, San Diego will lose about 2,300 homes to rising sea levels by 2100. This includes almost all of Mission Beach and parts of La Playa.
Actions for homeowners to take now
2100 is a distant date, one that the current generation of homeowners won’t live to see. This fact makes it easy to shrug off talk of rising seas and the other effects of climate change. But seas won’t rise six feet over night. Sea levels rise about one-eighth of an inch each year, according to NOAA, and the pace is quickening.
Higher seas have already led to storms with greater impacts on the coast, including more flooding and more costly property damage.
Today’s homebuyers can protect themselves now by doing their full due diligence before purchasing along the coast or inland areas prone to flooding. Property needs to be inspected for signs of erosion before purchase, as basic home insurance plans do not cover property damage or loss due to sea level rise or erosion.
Most flood insurance plans will cover erosion due to floods. Therefore, purchasing adequate flood insurance in coastal and flood-prone areas is crucial for the forward-minded homeowner.
Finally, current homeowners and agents living and working in coastal communities susceptible to sea level rise can be vocal supporters of actions to lessen the effects of climate change. Flood prevention plans are becoming more essential as sea levels rise, and it’s important for local communities — particularly those that are the first to be affected — to prepare now to lessen the financial losses to occur down the road.