Realtors Ponder Impact of Climate Change


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, October 25th, 2016 – The Realtors Association of Manatee and Sarasota (RAMS) has taken steps to be on top of the issue of climate change and its impact on the real estate industry. In its September annual meeting, RAMS had as one of its resource speakers David Houle, a “futurist in residence” at the Ringling College of Art and Design, who provided an overview of the anticipated effects of global warming and climate change for the Gulf Coast.

An author and Emmy Award-winning producer, Houle foresees that in four years, brokers of Sarasota homes for sale in a flood zone deemed to get deeper, will need to make a zoning disclosure and have it signed by prospective buyers. This disclosure, he says, should emphasize that the purchase can only be in cash because the insurance and reinsurance sectors are two industries most knowledgeable about climate change and are averse to its risks.

Houle adds that such disclosure should further state that the real estate agent has informed the client that there couldn’t be a purchase through mortgage because the property is in a flood zone expected to get deeper.

A Look at Advancing Waterline

Realtors Ponder Impact of Climate Change

Government analyses indicate that local high tides could push the waterline anywhere between six and ten inches above current levels by 2030 because of climate change. With Florida’s flat terrain, high-tide sea levels rising by six inches can drive a 150-foot water encroachment inland.

Houle has likewise noted climatologists’ forecast of a two to four foot rise in high tide levels by 2050. Local beach restoration, he predicts, will have one final go before any makeover becomes already untenable.

Though these predictions are many years away, RAMS president Linda Formella stands open on starting and continuing the conversation on the impact of climate change on Sarasota homes for sale. She likewise noted that it is the obligation of a seller to disclose known issues or those that are not readily observable on a listed property.

Coastal Construction Remedies

The Florida-Caribbean chapter of the American Institute of Architects is one local institution that has taken concrete steps to tackle climate change and changing coastlines. Specifically, this industry group is encouraging its members and their clients to accommodate in their design plans the anticipated three feet of sea level rise.

Andrew Hayes, past chapter president, hopes too that builders, especially those in the public sector, will now begin rethinking urban planning, Architects, together with civil engineers and landscapers, are already brainstorming for plans not just to block water but to accommodate it. Some of their early ideas include using natural buffer, such as native plants, and elevating roads and sidewalks.

Online Support Tools Ready

A sea level rise web map is one useful tool for public and private agencies addressing issues on changing coastlines due to climate change. This web map has been created recently by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) precisely to support future planning through an online tool showing various scenarios on different water levels resulting from sea-level increases and occasional storm surges.

The searchable flood risk map that Sarasota County launched in its website last year is another vital guide for planners and builders. Useful as well for realtors and prospective buyers of Sarasota homes for sale, this user-friendly tool makes it easier to navigate the county’s high-risk flood zones which have been updated to include an additional 42,700 properties.