Report shows 5,000 homes would be underwater across Puget Sound if sea levels rise 6 feet

A new report by Zillow shows how 1.9 million homes nationwide would be underwater if sea levels rise by 6 feet over the next 100 years.

Locally, the prediction would be for 5,000 underwater homes across Puget Sound.

“Outside the climate community there's not necessarily that awareness,” Zillow Senior Economist Aaron Terrazas told KIRO 7 on Wednesday.  “So one of our aspirations is to bring awareness of the risk of climate change to the real estate community and to homebuyers.”

Zillow used these two data sources for the sea level predictions:

  • http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v531/n7596/full/nature17145.html
  • https://coast.noaa.gov/slrdata/

The report found one third (32 percent) of those homes nationwide would be in the bottom third of home values.  In the Puget Sound region, the numbers skew more towards higher end homes.  But Terrazas said some communities with more modest homes would be hard it.

“Places like Aberdeen on the coast or Bremerton across the sound there are people of more modest means living in these exposed areas,” Terrazas said.  “For those homeowners it is a bigger challenge to build the infrastructure necessary.”

The major construction on the new Seattle seawall wrapped up this August.  That’s the type of project to protect against rising sea levels.  The Zillow economists pointed out that most cities have the capability to add this protection.  Most homeowners do not.

The communities with the most homes that would be underwater are Fox Island (7.5 percent of all homes), Fife (6.9 percent), and Stanwood (6.3 percent).

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