American homes in flood zones are overvalued by as much as $237 billion and a correction to accurately account for risks exacerbated by climate change would disproportionately slash the value of homes owned by low-income residents in GOP-controlled states, a study published in Nature Climate Change warns. The disproportionate risk is borne by property owners in counties with little concern about climate change and no flood risk disclosure requirements.
Though the study did not address racial disparities, its findings are not inconsistent with patterns of racist discrimination that forced Black residents into more flood-prone areas. “This is a problem for cities and towns who could struggle financially if property values — and therefore property taxes — take a dive,” Penny Liao, a fellow at Resources for the Future and co-author of the Nature study, said in a statement. “We need to think about flood risk not as a homeowner’s problem, but as a problem for our entire community, city and housing market.” (Washington Post $, Grist, Bloomberg $, E&E $; Climate Signals background: Flooding)