Ocean City property values hardest hit by East Coast sea level rise

Stock_Carroll - Ocean City Beach Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Ocean City Music Pier on the boardwalk between 8th and 9th Street in Ocean City, New Jersey.

Rising seas along the East Coast of the United States have wiped out more than $530 million in property value in Ocean City, making the Jersey Shore town the hardest hit in a new study on the impact of tidal flooding.

The 12-year study of relative property values, covering 2005-2017, was led by the data science group First Street Foundation and Columbia University.

While other economic models of sea level rise have focused on future impact, this peer-reviewed investigation incorporated the already-increased frequency of tidal flooding on coastal properties.

“From Maine to Florida and through the Gulf Coast, we have seen the same phenomenon,” said Dr. Jeremy R. Porter, a Columbia University professor and First Street Foundation statistical consultant “Increased tidal flooding has led to a loss in home value appreciation. We expect this trend to not only continue in the coming years, but to accelerate along with the accelerating rate of sea level rise.”

The study accounted for the impact of the 2008 housing market recession to isolate the impact of tidal flooding, the researchers said. Even though most of the properties in the study increased in value over the 12-year span in question, they did so at a rate far lower than comparable homes unaffected by tidal flooding.

Ocean City far outpaced the rest of the "hardest hit" cities. Miami Beach, which lost approximately $337 million in home values from sea level rise, was the closest city behind the popular shore town.

The finding backs up previous research by Climate Central, which found that Ocean City had the highest number of homes threatened by extreme flooding over the next 30 years.  Read More

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