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Current Building Patterns Could Put 802,555 Homes at Risk of Flooding by 2050

Smart + Resilient Cities

Current Building Patterns Could Put 802,555 Homes at Risk of Flooding by 2050

August 5, 2019
Street flooding covering traffic sign
Photo: Unsplash/Kelly Sikkema

Coastal cities are seeing an uptick of building in flood-vulnerable areas, putting an estimated 802,555 homes at risk of 10-year flood inundation by 2050, Zillow reports.

The post-Sandy rebuilding was a striking example of a broader pattern. Across the United States, coastal communities have recently built tens of thousands of houses in areas at risk of future flooding driven by sea-level rise from climate change. That has put homeowners, renters, and investors in danger of steep personal and financial losses in the years ahead.

Unchecked greenhouse gas emissions would put 3.4 million existing homes worth $1.75 trillion at risk of inundation from a 10-year flood by 2100.

By 2050, those figures are 802,555 homes worth $451 billion – and 19,250 of those homes were built after 2009. New York, Tampa, Virginia Beach and 21 other cities built at least 100 homes in the risk zone during that time.

Florida would have the most homes at risk (1.58 million) by 2100, followed by New Jersey (282,354), Virginia (167,090), Louisiana (157,050) and California (143,217)—assuming levees and other infrastructure defenses hold.

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