Should You Invest in Miami Real Estate With Sea Levels on the Rise?

Miami’s city center presently sits 1.8 meters above sea level making any property tremendously prone to flooding, which have been growing in severity due to raised carbon dioxide emissions increasing the temperature of our oceans. It’s a scary development that is negatively affecting all American coastal municipalities where 90% of counties are located. However, this has not influenced buyers from pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into condominium and land development along Florida’s sandy beaches, as currently, there is a real estate boom in Miami. The boom is an enormous benefit to the city as it delivers funds for infrastructure that comes entirely from property tax, therefore both Miami City Council and investors are discovering it is much more profitable to essentially ‘bury their heads in the sand’ when it comes to climate change. For instance, Miami Beach contended that it would be prudent to increase investments in storm water drainage developments from $100 million currently invested to $400 million, something that is possible now in a metro area of 6 million, but impossible in the future if investors and home owners choose to leave South Florida out of fear of rising sea levels. Ironically, the sustainability of Miami and its real estate market hinge on increased urbanization. However, those seeking to invest in South Florida real estate are reasonably anxious that their property could be lost to the ocean, which is why it begs the question: “Should I invest in Miami real estate?”

Fisher Island

According to more than twenty university heads and climate change experts, flood waters could plunge several Miami neighborhoods before the year 2025 if appropriate infrastructure safeguards are not put in place. The impact on the economy that rising sea levels warrants makes Miami either a cautionary tale or an example of the effect that climate change has on low laying cities such as Venice, Amsterdam and Singapore in the coming decades. It’s estimated that by 2060, ocean levels will rise over 2 feet if carbon emissions are not checked. That would turn the western half of Miami Beach into the next Atlantis. A 2015 report by the Risky Business Project found that the rising ocean of climate change will be splashing the toes of south Florida residents by 2030, when coastal homes worth a combined $69 billion could be underwater at high-tide, half of which are real estate assets in Miami-Dade County. The permeable limestone these properties are built on intensifies the severity of flooding for at-risk communities such as Fisher Island, Island Terrace and Belle Isle.

The city has requested that all new condo developments follow firm building codes that are intended to stabilize and protect the structures for generations. The newly introduced codes demand all new construction and city infrastructure to be raised as well as new height limits for condominiums. This also means roads, sewers and power lines must be raised so that they too can be maintained in the event of flooding.

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