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{FunnelCast Contributor | Ben Moss} How Climate Change Could Possibly Sink the Miami Real Estate Market

07/17/2014
Ben Moss, Miami Commercial Real Estate blog, Miami Condo blog, ONE Sotheby's

It was announced today that a 1.25-acre site on the Miami River and the entrance to Biscayne Bay has just traded for a record-breaking price of $125 million ($2,296/square foot)! Kudos to the sellers, Diego Lowenstein and Ugo Colombo, as this is a coup, especially for a site that technically doesn’t even sit on the open bay. While the site can allow up to 2 million square feet of construction, it still seems like a huge price to pay. In contrast, Genting acquired over 30 acres for $420 million, including 9 acres that are prime, open bay waterfront. Who got the better deal?

I chuckle a little bit (but not in a good way), because I just read an article that discusses how Miami could essentially disappear due to rising seas within 100 years.  As I have previously observed, Miami is growing into a world-class city, but wouldn’t it be a shame if all these billions of dollars of new mixed-use developments aren’t around all that long to enjoy because of climate change? As Mayor Stoddard of South Miami observes “The thing about Miami is that when it goes, it will all be gone”, referencing the fact that even though South Miami sits on a high ridge, no one will want to live here when part of South Florida are underwater.  

Well before any rising seawater laps up in someone’s living room (excluding storm surge from a potential hurricane, of course), insurance companies will drive down property values and drive away homeowners with astronomical flood insurance rates. I know people living in a flood zone currently near the coast who pay around $20,000/year in mandatory flood insurance on properties valued at around $1 million. I also know people who live on the water and are selling now because they’ve never seen the sea level so consistently high and it scares them as to what the future holds. 

As a Realtor in South Florida, I’m in a difficult position. I’m extremely bullish on Miami, love the city, think it’s becoming one of the world’s great cities, but I also recognize that my future, as well as that of every other Miamian, could seriously be hindered if our leadership in this state (and country) doesn’t get its collective act together.  We do have a long way to go on this issue as leaders like Marco Rubio and Rick Scott either don’t believe in climate change and/or won’t even give interviews to explain their stance on this issue.  One thing I do know is that this issue is not going away.  In fact, I first started learning about it a few years ago when I read a book called The Gaia Hypothesis, written in 1972 by Yale and Harvard scientist James Lovelock. In that book, and subsequent books, all of Lovelock’s extrapolation of data point to trend lines that are much more ominous in reality than those that he offered as a future predictor in his writings way back then. Hopefully that does not mean the sea levels will come washing up much sooner than the 100 years being tossed around right now, but what it does mean is that we have to start discussing this issue much more, and start taking immediate action to prevent calamity and maintain our city and quality of life. I’d rather have a painful discussion now than a much more painful one when we only have one option as a city, and that is to abandon it in the distant or not-so-distant future…

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By: Ben Moss

Estate Agent | ONE Sotheby’s International Realty

Email: Ben@BenMossGroup.com

Phone: 305.793.4783

Visit Ben’s Website: www.BenMossGroup.com

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