What is the cost of preserving, maintaining, or restoring vulnerable coastal properties? These questions cause many communities to hesitate when facing the expensive realities of changing sea level, flood and storm frequency. One possible solution is a retreat from the shoreline, in which coastal homes are removed to take them out of imminent danger. This solution comes with many complications, including reductions in tax revenue for towns and potentially diminished real estate values for surrounding properties.
This research team's analysis considered:
- How shoreline amenities, such as distance to the water, affect housing prices and translated that information into simulations of shoreline retreat outcomes using data from the past 20 years.
- Characteristics of the homes, such as size and amenities, and neighborhoods, such as location and quality of schools, along with transaction data. Transaction data includes the timing, price, and financing of house sales on the coast.
- Policy simulations to estimate possible avenues to recover revenue lost through retreat by looking at how it could impact neighborhoods.
- GIS mapping to measure the relationship between how obstructed a house’s view of the water is and its value. A house that has an obscured view of the ocean is valued less than a house with a clearer view. However, if houses in front of one of these obscured-view homes were taken down as part of a retreat measure, the value of the remaining house would increase.
Findings from this research can help guide municipal, state, and even federal planning in the face of climate change as they search for solutions that provide the best outcome for citizens and communities. For example, the team found that homes directly on the coast see a 40% increase in value, while those across the street from the coast see a 27% increase. However, homes located on floodplains next to a river see a 2.5% decrease. And one simulation, in which 1,200 lower-valued properties on the floodplain, showed the value increase of neighboring homes would allow municipalities to recoup approximately 14% of revenue lost through retreat. This project helps better understand the value of oceanfront properties located near the coast and how this might change with a changing climate.
Webinar Materials: Original air date June 9, 2021
UConn Today Feature Article (June 2021): Should We Stay or Should We Go? Shoreline Homes and Rising Sea Levels in Connecticut
Project Team Members
- Charles Towe, UConn Agricultural and Resource Economics and Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering
- Zhenshan Chen, UConn Agricultural and Resource Economics and Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering
- Nancy Bockstael, UConn Agricultural and Resource Economics and Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering
- Stephen Swallow, UConn Agricultural and Resource Economics and Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering