Study finds rising seas are eroding value of homes along Mass. and R.I. coasts

A home in Quincy’s Houghs Neck section, in March 2018. John Tlumacki/Globe staff/File 2018

Rising seas have already cost Massachusetts homeowners more than a quarter of a billion dollars in lost property value, according to a study set to be published Tuesday, with much more severe losses likely to come, the Globe’s Tim Logan reports.

That’s according to the First Street Foundation, a New York-based nonprofit that studies sea level rise and its impacts on coastal communities. Its report estimates that the value of homes in Massachusetts has potentially been eroded by $273 million since 2005 because of concerns about flooding and sea level rise, with the biggest effects in low-lying parts of coastal towns, including Salisbury and Barnstable.

Studies of changes in the sea level have typically looked forward, such as an estimate last year by the Union of Concerned Scientists that 7,000 Massachusetts homes, worth $4 billion, would be subject to chronic flooding by 2045.

According to the study, home values in Rhode Island lost $44.7 million in appreciation between 2005 and 2017, the Associated Press reported. The Providence Journal reports the study estimates losses caused by rising seas could equal $15 billion across 14 coastal US states.

According to the National Climate Assessment’s 2018 update, as much as $106 billion worth of real estate could be below sea level by 2050, the AP said. The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council has adopted projections by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to plan for up to 11.5 feet of sea-level rise by the end of the century.

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