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What has climate change done to Maryland? Here's what one group studying tidal flooding found

What has climate change done to Maryland? Here's what one group studying tidal flooding found

Peak yearly flooding on Saint Louis Avenue in Ocean City today and 15 years from now, as measured and projected by the First Street Foundation.

(Handout)

Marylanders might have already lost out on $555 million in property value appreciation because of increased tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels, according a new report.

The report details the findings of a peer-reviewed study, compiled by data scientists from Columbia University and the nonprofit First Street Foundations, that examined about 3.7 million coastal properties in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania. The tri-state region lost out on $862.1 million in relative property values from 2005 to 2017, according to the findings.

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Of the three states analyzed, researchers found Maryland’s coastal properties were hit the hardest — having lost $555.7 million in relative property value appreciation. By comparison, Delaware lost out on an estimated $299.5 million and Pennsylvania lost about $10.1 million in unrealized value, according to the study.

(Below is a heat map based on the one in the report, showing amount of property value loss by ZIP code.)

The report comes from First Street Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to evaluate financial losses stemming from climate change in real time, as opposed to estimating future losses. The findings released Wednesday expand on previous evaluations of other states on the East Coast.

Florida, New Jersey and New York have all fared worse than Maryland, each counting their property value losses in billions of dollars.

Peak yearly flooding on 11th Street in Ocean City today and 15 years from now, as measured and projected by the First Street Foundation.
Peak yearly flooding on 11th Street in Ocean City today and 15 years from now, as measured and projected by the First Street Foundation. (Handout)

The most recent report includes a list of 20 cities in Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania that were hit the hardest, with 13 Maryland cities making the list. Crisfield ranks No. 1 with an estimated $38 million in property value losses. Baltimore was listed as No. 15 with $8.8 million lost.

Property value lost to sea level rise 2005-17
Crisfield(Somerset)$38M
Ocean City(Worcester)28.9M
West Ocean City(Worcester)20.4M
Edgemere(Balto. Co.)18.9M
Smith Island(Somerset)16.9M
Oxford(Talbot)13.4M
Fairmount(Somerset)12.9M
Shady Side(Anne Arundel)10.9M
Deal Island(Somerset)9.4M
Annapolis Neck(Anne Arundel)9.2M
Baltimore(Balto. City)8.8M
Mayo(Anne Arundel)7.9M
Madison(Dorchester)6.8M
North Beach(Calvert)6M
Source: First Street Foundation

For methodology, researchers took into account characteristics associated with home value, such as square footage and proximity to amenities, according to a First Street Foundation news release.

The scientists accounted for economic trends such as the 2008 housing recession and were able to isolate the impact that increased frequent tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels has had on home value, the release states.

“While most of the affected homes appreciated in value over the studied period, they did so at a significantly lower rate than comparable homes unaffected by tidal flooding,” the release states. “The research is also the first to find that in addition to direct property-lot flooding, nearby road flooding also has a major impact on home value.”

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