Letters to the Editor

With sea level rise, ‘beachfront property’ will be under water by 2030

FILE: A car moved slowly through a flooded street in Holmes Beach as Tropical Storm Andrea moved over Anna Maria Island in 2013.
FILE: A car moved slowly through a flooded street in Holmes Beach as Tropical Storm Andrea moved over Anna Maria Island in 2013. Herald file photo

I read with great interest Hannah Morse’s article about the potential of home loss in the Bradenton area. As a futurist, co-author of “This Spaceship Earth” and co-founder of ThisSpaceshipEarth.Org, I would like to add some thoughts on this topic.

First, the data seems to be largely correct. The issue I would like to add is that the number of homes lost by 2100 is not of great use to those who currently live in the area (as all will be dead by 2100). The real question is when this sea level rise will occur. To reframe the conversation: “What is the timeline for these losses?”

This area of the Gulf Coast has experienced 11 inches of sea level rise in the last 100 years. It is expected that we will experience that amount of sea level rise by 2030-32, according to NOAA. The current best estimates are that there could be a 2-foot rise by 2040. So, the immediate objective for the city and county is to plan for such eventuality. The question for all homeowners is: When do I sell to still get my equity out of my home? Once it becomes clear to all in the real estate market that beachfront property may be under water in a couple of decades, there will be a rapid increase in supply of homes on the market, but no corresponding demand to buy.

I have forecast, and think that by 2030 at the latest, the real estate market, and all relevant city planning relative to our beachfront and coastline, will be profoundly altered by sea level rise. The more practical discussion is what to do by 2030, 2040 and 2050. 2100 is irrelevant to anyone reading these words.

David Houle

Sarasota

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