"Climate gentrification" is coming to Miami’s real estate market

Future homeowners in coastal cities might want to consider climate change before making a down payment

Published January 1, 2018 5:58AM (EST)

Downtown Miami (Getty/franckreporter)
Downtown Miami (Getty/franckreporter)

This post originally appeared on Grist.

Prospective homeowners often evaluate nearby schools, public parks, and public transportation options. But future homeowners in coastal cities might want to consider another factor before making a down payment: climate change.

Research from Harvard shows a link between elevation and price appreciation in Miami neighborhoods. Properties at higher elevations in Miami-Dade County have been increasing in value since 1971. For the most part, that’s been due to non-climate factors. But since 2000, the correlation has grown stronger.

That could be a sign of preference for properties that are more resilient to flooding. Florida has certainly seen more than its fair share of rising seas and climate-fueled storms. And nationwide, coastal homes at risk of inundation are beginning to lose value.

Climate gentrification — a new phrase to describe climate change’s transformation of real estate markets — could have huge repercussions. If real estate values start to decrease rapidly for high-risk properties, we could be on the cusp of a foreclosure crisis, Harvard researchers say.

In addition, wealthy people might crowd mixed-income areas, pushing out longtime residents. “People’s lives, their livelihoods, and their culture” are at stake, Mustafa Santiago Ali, senior vice president of the Hip Hop Caucus, told CBS.

Guess it’s time for a new addition to our ever-expanding climate change vocabulary.

By Zoya Teirstein

Zoya Teirstein is a contributing writer from Grist.org.

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Climate Change Climate Gentrification Coastal Cities Flooding Grist Miami Real Estate