One of Florida's biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest risk within the Sunshine State.
According to a Monday report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, nearly 40 percent of the state's property tax base is expected to be "highly exposed" to such flooding within the next 30 years.
By 2045, nearly 64,000 residential properties in the state — worth about $26 billion— are at risk for constant flooding. By 2100, about 1 million properties — worth $351 billion — will be at risk, the report said.
"Once market risk perceptions catch up with reality, the potential drop in Florida's coastal property values could have reverberations throughout the economy — affecting banks, insurers, investors, and developers — potentially triggering regional housing market crises," the report said.
And it's not just residential properties. About 2,300 commercial properties are also projected to be significantly affected by the flooding by 2045, amounting to about $3 billion in value. By 2100, that increases to 37,500 properties valued at $46 billion.
Tampa Bay faces the second-highest risk in the state, with 21 to 40 percent of its property tax base at risk by 2045 and 40 to 60 percent facing regular flooding by 2100. The Keys face the largest risk — 41 to 60 percent of its tax base at risk by 2045 and more than 60 percent by 2100. Third is Miami, with up to 20 percent of its base at risk by 2045 and 21 to 60 percent by 2100.
The report used Zillow real estate information and the three rising sea level scenarios developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The bulk of the report is drawn from the scenario with the highest rise, where Florida's sea levels rise just under 2 feet by 2045 and 6.4 feet by 2100.
Some of the areas expected to be hit the hardest by such flooding are also areas that will likely have more difficulty adapting and recovering because of "long-standing social and economic inequities," the report said. These include Miami, Miami Beach, Fort Myers, West Palm Beach and the Keys.
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