According to a recent report by the First Street Foundation, a nonprofit that advocates “for sea level rise solutions,” flooding and seal level rise has erased nearly $7 billion in value for tristate homeowners since 2005. An interactive map, which can be found at floodiq.com, shows how much certain communities — and specific houses — have lost since then.
According to the map, Baldwin Harbor properties that frequently experience flooding – or are near roads that flood - have dropped in value by $32,142,627 in the last 13 years.
The First Street Foundation said it got its numbers by combining publicly available data, such as tide gauge readings, storm surge predictions and property details from state and county government offices. The nonprofit says home values will continue to drop to sea level rise and storm surges if nothing is done to protect coastal communities.
Baldwin real estate professionals had mixed reactions to the report. Erik Mahler, owner of Mahler Realty, said he did not buy the number reached for Baldwin Harbor. He said the market has rebounded since the 2008 recession and Superstorm Sandy. “We have a strong economy and a booming real estate market,” Mahler said.
Susan Cools, a real estate associate with Sotheby’s International Realty, said she agrees property values in waterside communities have been hit hard in recent years — but she added she’s not sure if the combined loss is as high as $30 million. “It’s only in the last year and a half that we’re starting to see people be comfortable in coastal communities like Baldwin Harbor and south Freeport,” she said. “And for amounts that are reasonable. It has taken us all this time to get back to reasonable numbers for the properties down there.”
Both said potential buyers also have to take things like flood insurance and government regulations into account when looking at homes near the water. “So, if you have high flood insurance and high taxes, they’re going to be buying a house in the lower price range,” Mahler said.
The First Street Foundation encourages residents and elected officials to lobby for flood mitigation projects to protect homes from future sea level rise and storm surges. State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat from Long Beach whose district includes part of Baldwin Harbor, said such initiatives are being planned for Baldwin.
He pointed to the Silver Lake Park drainage project as one of the important initiatives being undertaken by the county. A county official said Thursday a community meeting on the project, which seeks to improve drainage in the area, will be held in October. He also stressed the importance of the long sought-after Bay Park outfall pipe, which would reroute sewage away from marshlands in Reynolds Channel in an effort to restore the natural storm barrier.
“These are our communities,” he said. “We’re not going anywhere.”