A recent report came out of the Florida Realtors magazine that discussed owners and their rising sea level concerns. Liz Bobeck shows customers properties near the St. Johns River as well as near the Atlantic Ocean. Owners know that there is the nagging question at the back of their head. Could my property fall in the water? Would I be ruined if I lost my house to the ocean? What would I do if the Jacksonville water levels continue to rise and affect my investment?
Jacksonville Water Levels
Yes, water levels have risen over the last century. A warmer planet with 9 billion people is quite a few more than when the cavemen inhabited the world. After what happened last year along Riverside and San Marco, you might think that buyers would be more concerned of the trend in Jacksonville water levels. However, most clients are not asking how high the nearby waters might rise before a 30-year mortgage is paid off. That 30-year time period is the issue. In our society, people do not look long-term.
This will change as the Jacksonville water levels rise. As properties fall into the ocean and A1A disappears along the Florida shoreline, this issue will come front and center. Until then, people build walls to protect the investment. They add sand and build new structures to protect what they have in Northeast Florida. Waterfront property listings can’t keep up with the demand in Florida. The local Real Estate data shows prices continue to soar as home buyers seek out waterfront views.
Won’t happen again
People are not buying to think about what might happen. They are buying for the view, the lifestyle and the feeling that they have made it. The 100 year flood happens, once every 100 years. But you are betting it will not happen while you own the property for 30 of those 100 years. No one pays attention to that 100 year timeline until their ankles have water over them. Jacksonville water levels were an issue during Irma and Matthew.
A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study released in May 2018 reported the number of days with flooding from higher-than-normal high tides is expected to be about 60 percent greater across the country this year than in 2000. “The underlying trend is quite clear,” wrote the authors. “Due to sea level rise, the national average frequency of high tide flooding is double what it was 30 years ago.”
Since 2000, the southeastern Atlantic coast has seen a 160 percent increase in high tide flooding. the number of days when coastal water levels reach or exceed a half meter over the long-term average highest tides, the study reported. The Gulf Coast has seen a 50 percent increase with waterfront properties. Property appraisers and real estate agents say they haven’t seen impacts yet. A study recently released by the nonprofit research group First Street Foundation showed that low-lying waterfront properties in Florida may not be rising in value as much as waterfront properties at higher elevations.
News outlets creating news
“We have a lot more discussion in the media than we have in the sales field,” a local realtor said. “I think people in our area feel confident that our governmental authorities are taking action to mediate (the threat) for the future. “People that live on the waterfront, they value that location more than they’re concerned with what they may have to deal with every decade to build something back,” he added. “Water is mesmerizing to people. They love it and they want to have that view and that access.”
We see it daily on local news outlets. They discuss Jacksonville water levels when San Marco floods. Any number of residents are interviewed. They are all sick of the water issue, but if you ask them deeper, they are more ticked off for trains that block San Marco Avenue for hours at a time.
Waterfront properties pay more taxes
Like many Florida counties, waterfront properties make up a sizable part of the tax values in Duval County. Just the properties along A1A make up a sizeable portion of taxes in Northeast Florida. The same may be said for the hundreds of properties along the St. Johns River. Home sales are driving more taxable revenue. The Cities and State of Florida have an investment to protect.
Florida is a great place to live, and people want to come here and participate in this climate. Eventually – it probably won’t be in my lifetime – the water level is going to get to the point where people say they have a water level issue in Florida. But no one is discussing this. Right now, times are good, the economy is growing. Boomers are retiring and expecting the good life as they purchase waterfront properties. They are investing back into their good life. If you want to find a great home and explore the good life while we wait for Jacksonville water levels to change, call me today at (904) 210-6399.