Rising sea levels, primarily accelerated by climate change, puts 68,000 homes and $21 billion worth of property in danger, according to a new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The study is part of a comprehensive national study that projects the overall warning across the control at more than 2.4 million homes, 107,000 businesses, and $1 trillion worth of property exposed to potential climate change risks by the end of the century.
According to the study:
- By 2045, about 14,000 of today’s residential properties, currently home to roughly 23,000 people, are at risk of chronic inundation. The total number of at-risk residential properties jumps to roughly 68,000—home to about 102,000 people—by 2100.
- By 2045, nearly $3.6 billion-worth of residential property (based on today’s values) is at risk of chronic flooding. The homes that would face this flooding at the end of the century are currently worth roughly $21 billion.
- The Maryland homes at risk in 2045 currently contribute about $31 million in annual property tax revenue. The homes at risk by 2100 currently contribute roughly $180 million collectively in annual property tax revenue.
- Communities along the state’s Eastern Shore are particularly at risk. In the next 30 years, 85 percent or more of the homes in Madison, Smith Island and Asbury are at risk of chronic inundation, significantly affecting the local property tax base for each community.
- Many of Maryland’s most exposed communities are home to residents who have fewer resources to adapt to chronic flooding. Towns such as Crisfield, Smith Island, and Asbury, where roughly one-third or more of residents live below the national poverty level, are all projected to be highly at risk.
- By 2045, more than 600 of today’s commercial properties in Maryland, currently assessed at about $49 million, would experience chronic inundation. In 2100, this number jumps to roughly 2,400 properties—assessed at approximately $592 million today.
The study was compiled from data from online real estate company Zillow, sea level data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other local agencies.
The projected scenario sees Maryland gaining two feet of sea level rise by 2045 and seven feet by 2100.
The Union warned of potential economic effects of such climate damage, as homeowners who live in chronically flooded areas may see their property values fall, lose the backing of lenders, and failing to gain insurance.