Wall Street is masking the true cost of climate change for coastal homes

sandy flood, new jersey, shore

JAMES TARMY / BLOOMBERG – Last November, less than a month after someone paid more than $1 million for an oceanfront house on New York’s Fire Island, a narrow strip of land dividing Long Island’s Great South Bay from the Atlantic Ocean, a storm surge destroyed the pool. “It’s certainly a very vulnerable place for storm and water damage,” says Vincent Petrarca, a broker who specializes in Fire Island Pines real estate. “You just have to look at the beach [to see] that there’s been erosion. But these houses are incredible, it’s a luxury item, and people want it.”

Extreme weather events are getting worse, and so is their impact on coastal real estate. “Any property that’s close to sea level is going to have an increase in the frequency of damaging events,” says Peter Thornton, a senior research scientist specializing in Earth-system modeling at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “The same storm as 20 years ago has a more damaging impact today, just because it’s starting off at a higher baseline.” …

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