Monday, December 14, 2015
Flood in Florida Keys Will Affect Property Values
Key Largo, USA - High tides that are peaking has turned the streets into swamps in the Florida Keys, it also brings swarms of annoying mosquitoes and smelly stagnant water. Residents are worried that this will be an impediment to the property values in the island chain.
Key Largo is the first and northernmost of the Florida Keys and just an hour drive from South Florida's two major airports. It is famous for scuba diving, snorkeling, an underwater hotel, sport fishing, eco-tours, beaches and fishing. The floods in Key Largo started late September.
Residents expected those floods but what they didn't expect were low lying streets to be swamped with 16 inches of salt water for nearly a month. Situation did improve in November, but heavy rains this December inundated those streets again.
Resident Narelle Prew, 49 who lived for 20 years on Adams Drive said it was "like a sewer". People living in the area have already signed petitions, voiced anger at community meetings and demanded that local officials do something, whether by raising roads or improving drainage.
"We are all concerned about our property values." She estimates that her home's market value at about a million dollars.
Henry Briceno a geologist at Florida International University said that, "It is like taking a peek at the future." Scientists will not be able to determine or predict exactly how fast sea levels will increase in the years ahead as the oceans warm and glaciers melt. Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact Sea Level Rise Work Group are expecting that water will go up to 10 inches above the 1992 average in the next 15 years and 26 inches by 2060. By 2060, if no action is done the sea level would wipe out 12% of property value in the Keys, a string of 1,700 small islands built on porous, prehistoric coral reefs, according to a 2011 report by Florida scientists.
Come 2100, since most of the islands are less than 6 feet or 2 meters above the current sea level, a 5 foot (1.5 meter) sea water rise in the Keys would wipe out 68% of property value in the area.
Currently, the real estate market in south Florida is flourishing and more than 50% of transactions are paid for in cash due to a surge of Chinese real estate investors.
Lynda Fernandez, senior vice president of public relations at the Miami Association of Realtors said, "Our entire market area continues to experience record level sales activity and significant price growth, consistently since 2011." Sales are up 17% in Keys, the average home sale price is $512,000, up 3% from last year.
"So far we have not been seeing buyers being concerned with sea level rise, which I'm a little surprised given all the media attention it has garnered lately," said Lisa Ferringo, president of the Marathon/Lower Keys Board of Realtors.
Experts are sounding the alarm bells that in the next 15 years those investment will be washed away. As much as $15 billion could be lost in Florida property by 2030, according to Risk Management Solutions (RMS), a leading catastrophe risk modeling company which advises insurance companies.