Would you buy in a hot market even if you thought you (and your investment) might literally be underwater in a few years? More people than you might think are willing to risk it, and nowhere is this more evident than in southern Florida. Now, before you start thinking that this is some fluffy piece of global warming propaganda, let’s look at the facts. Global warming has been largely disproved and it’s done a terrible disservice to actual environmental issues that many of us now largely ignore because global warming has turned into such a farce. One such issue is rising sea levels.
Now, rising sea levels can be documented independently of global warming, although global warming advocates don’t like to do so. In areas of the country like Fort Lauderdale, however, where a network of canals already helps keep the entire city dry, flooding is an ongoing issue due, in large part, to development and other manmade causes. Particularly during “King Tide” events, where tides temporarily raise sea levels as much as 18 inches above normal high tide, streets, yards, and even homes can end up partially or wholly underwater. Given that the city is also built on limestone bedrock, which is very porous, events like these can destabilize foundations as well.
All of this is well and good as long as developers and homeowners allow for these issues, but the real estate market is fueling a development boom in the area that has some local analysts and scientists concerned. Builders can build in flood risk and flood plain areas, but many researchers are worried that building codes are out of date; in fact, some areas do not require any type of disclosure about the risks in the area and buildings only have to be erected one foot above the flood plain. While Fort Lauderdale is working to protect its municipality in other ways, such as using one-way valves to stop seawater from spreading onto roads, some scientists and urban planners warn that a major water-related environmental disaster, such as a hurricane or storm surge, could not only destroy a lot of valuable property but could also kill a large portion of the population and tank the real estate market as well.
Do your own research and make sure you know if you’re buying in an environmentally risky area. Know what the local government is doing to protect you and your property.
Point to Ponder:
Do you think Fort Lauderdale is in danger? Would you invest there?
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Carole Ellis is the host of Real Estate Investing Today, a popular 9-minute daily podcast focused on educating real estate investors about the important topics that will make their investing SAFER, FASTER, and MORE PROFITABLE. She's also the editor of the Bryan Ellis Investing Letter. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in and reporting on the real estate industry and, additionally, has written dozens of courses on the topic. Carole lives in Kennesaw with her husband, Bryan, and four children. She believes wholeheartedly that your best investment is always your OWN education.