10 cities could lose $34 billion-plus in housing to floods by 2050

Flood waters cover a neighbourhood street after Tropical Storm Barry passed through in Mandeville, Louisiana on July 14, 2019.

SETH HERALD | AFP | Getty Images

Hurricane Barry dumped more than 23 in. of rain in places as it stormed up the Mississippi River Valley from Louisiana and Alabama to Arkansas and as far north as Ontario, Canada, this week. Although the weather system did less damage than initially feared, some experts say that, thanks to climate change, things will only get worse going forward.

Andreas Prein, project scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, recently told the New York Times that climate change is upping both the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall storms.

Where does that leave homeowners? Within three decades more than 386,000 homes in coastal areas of the U.S. will be at risk of permanent submersion or regular flooding due to climate change, according to a recent study by real estate website Zillow and nonprofit weather news site Climate Central.

About 40% of the American population may be affected to some degree. Those residences are collectively worth nearly $210 billion in 2018 dollars, according to Zillow; in the top 10 cities likely affected, losses could total more than $34 billion. Things look even more grim further out in time: By 2100 some 2.5 million homes nationwide, worth about $1.3 trillion altogether, could be at risk if the scientific data and resulting computer models are correct.

Here are the 10 cities predicted to be worst affected by 2050, along with the amount of local housing affected by flooding and its value.

Source: Zillow.com

Updated 18 July 2019. Originally published 14 March 2019.

10. Virginia Beach, Virginia

A driver passes through a street flooded by rain from Hurricane Irene on August 28, 2011 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Brendan Hoffman | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Total value of housing in risk zone: $1,046,508,894 (By 2100: $9,468,757,353)
Share of housing in risk zone: 1.3%(By 2100: 17.3%)
Housing count in risk zone: 1,887 (By 2100: 24,692)
Share of total housing value in risk zone: 2.2% (By 2100: 20%)

9. Boston

A man walks slowly through a flooded sidewalk off Congress Street in Boston during a nor’easter storm on March 2, 2018.

John Tlumacki | Boston Globe | Getty Images

Total value of housing in risk zone: $1,151,043,082 (By 2100: $35,084,609,593)
Share of housing in risk zone: 0.7% (By 2100: 22%)
Housing count in risk zone: 833 (By 2100: 25,923)
Share of total housing value in risk zone: 1.1% (By 2100: 33.5%)

8. Stockton, California

Tall houses are a hedge against deep floods on Bethel Island, surrounded by levees holding back higher waters of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta on Sept. 29, 2005 west of Stockton, California.

David McNew | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Total value of housing in risk zone: $1,696,419,875 (By 2100: $5,441,951,253)
Share of housing in risk zone: 5.9% (By 2100: 22%)
Housing count in risk zone: 4,415 (By 2100: 16,552)
Share of total housing value in risk zone: 7.3% (By 2100: 23.4%)

7. Seattle

Downtown Seattle cloaked in fog and rain.

CinematicFilm | iStock | Getty Images

Total value of housing in risk zone: $2,164,936,680 (By 2100: $2,752,414,258)
Share of housing in risk zone: 0.8% (By 2100: 1%)
Housing count in risk zone: 1,491 (By 2100: 1,894)
Share of total housing value in risk zone: 1.3% (By 2100: 1.6%)

6. Long Beach, California

A Honda plows through a flooded portion of Del Amo Blvd. in Long Beach, California on Thursday, January 12, 2017.

MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images | MediaNews Group | Getty Images

Total value of housing in risk zone: $2,169,035,241 (By 2100: $6,924,518,935)
Share of housing in risk zone: 1.7% (By 2100: 5.8%)
Housing count in risk zone: 1,580 (By 2100: 5,284)
Share of total housing value in risk zone: 3.5%(By 2100: 11.2%)

5. Charleston, South Carolina

Beachfront homes protected with plywood on Sept.13, 2018 in Folly Beach near Charleston, South Carolina in preparation for Hurricane Florence.

NurPhoto | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Total value of housing in risk zone: $2,194,053,387 (By 2100: $10,617,186,228)
Share of housing in risk zone: 5.9%(By 2100: 38.6%)
Housing count in risk zone: 2,650 (By 2100: 17,437)
Share of total housing value in risk zone: 10.2%(By 2100: 49.4%)

4. Miami Beach, Florida

Flooded street on Sept. 29, 2015. in Miami Beach, Florida, which engaged in a five-year, $400 million storm water pump program.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Total value of housing in risk zone: $2,920,635,593 (By 2100: $37,604,140,241)
Share of housing in risk zone: 10.8% (By 2100: 85.2%)
Housing count in risk zone: 5,177 (By 2100: 40,730)
Share of total housing value in risk zone: 6.5 % (By 2100: 84.1%)

3. New York City

A boat lies on a street after Hurricane Sandy affected the section of Eltingville in Staten Island, New York in 2012.

VIEW press | Corbis News | Getty Images

Total value of housing in risk zone: $3,905,220,573 (By 2100: $87,307,101,711)
Share of housing in risk zone: 0.5% (By 2100: 7%)
Housing count in risk zone: 6,259 (By 2100: 95,210)
Share of total housing value in risk zone: 0.3%(By 2100: 6.4%)

2. Newport Beach, California

Gary Wilson, of Newport Beach, California, sits on his bike in flooded Balboa Pier parking lot.

Allen J. Schaben | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Total value of housing in risk zone: $5,276,358,560 (By 2100: $16,237,386,190)
Share of housing in risk zone: 6.4% (By 2100: 18%)
Housing count in risk zone: 1,861 (By 2100: 5,205)
Share of total housing value in risk zone: 6.6%(By 2100: 20.2%)

1. San Mateo, California

Flooded road in San Mateo County, California, in February 2017.

GaylaWorrell | iStock | Getty Images

Total value of housing in risk zone: $11,926,104,726 (By 2100: $14,592,425,181)
Share of housing in risk zone: 34.2% (By 2100: 41.6%)
Housing count in risk zone: 8,951 (By 2100: 10,890)
Share of total housing value in risk zone: 28% (By 2100: 34.3%)

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