Real Estate Development and Climate Change

An example of this is how the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, 15 years after it hit the city of New Orleans, is still taking its toll on real estate prices in the area

This vibrant trading port where the mighty Mississippi River meets the Gulf of Mexico, was able to extend development around the cosmopolitan city of New Orleans with the help of a series of levvies and sea walls. While hurricanes are common in this area of the country and Katrina caused extensive damage from central Florida to eastern Texas; the flooding in New Orleans, caused largely by fatal engineering flaws in the levees, is what precipitated most of the loss of lives.

Even though several tourist events and other forms of revenue such as conventions, sporting events and sports teams have returned to the city, because of the scale of damage, many people have resettled permanently in other areas. Real estate prices around New Orleans have still not recovered from this disaster 15 years ago.

Even though Hurricane Katrina is not linked to climate change, this is an example of how climate change can leave a municipality increasingly vulnerable to climate shocks that can upend a local real estate market, infrastructure, and economy, within a few days time.

An example of how gradual climate change will affect real estate and property development is an estimate by Zillow that 1.9 million homes in the United States are threatened by rising sea levels, and the number of homes across the globe that are threatened by this are significantly higher.