Zillow: Rising sea levels over the next century could swamp nearly 8,500 Tampa homes
If sea level rose 6 feet — a possibility by the year 2100, according to some estimates — 7 percent of the homes in Tampa could be (literally) under water, according to a recent analysis from the real estate information firm Zillow.
The worst-hit neighborhoods would be those closest to the bay, the company said: Davis Islands, Ballast Point, the area west of Westshore Boulevard from Beach Park down to Port Tampa City, as well as along the Hillsborough River as far north as Old Seminole Heights. Damage could reach $5 billion and affect nearly 8,500 homes.
By comparison, a similar rise over the coming century could do $3.6 billion in damage to about 11,800 Jacksonville homes and an estimated $16 billion in damage to nearly 33,000 homes in Miami. (The company did not provide an estimate of the possible impact on St. Petersburg or in Pinellas County.)
"The threats posed by climate change and rising sea levels have the potential to destroy housing values on an enormous scale," Zillow director of economic product and research Krishna Rao wrote in the company's analysis.
Statewide in Florida, a 6-foot rise in sea levels would swamp more than 1 in 8 houses worth a total of $400 billion at today's prices, Zillow estimates. That's a bigger percentage than in Hawaii, where one in 10 homes would be at risk.
Nationwide, Zillow's projections through the year 2100 estimates $882 billion in damage to nearly 1.9 million homes. Almost 300 cities would lose half or more of their homes. Thirty-six communities would be "completely lost," according to Rao.
To make the estimate, Zillow used National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration maps showing coastal areas that would be at risk of being under water if sea levels rose 6 feet, plus its own real estate data, to pinpoint Tampa homes that could see Tampa Bay or the Hillsborough River well up and flood at least their first floor.