Rising Sea Levels Are Already Affecting Coastal Property Owners

Elizabeth Boineau planned to sell her house for nearly $1 million. But she's tearing it down instead.

sea levels
Bicyclists ride through floodwater along the Battery in the historic district as Hurricane Joaquin brings heavy rain, flooding and strong winds as it passes offshore October 4, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina. (Richard Ellis/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Elizabeth Boineau owns a 1939 Colonial located half a block from the Ashley River in a sought-after Charleston neighborhood filled with ancient live oaks, charming gardens and historic homes. About a year ago, Boineau thought she could sell it for nearly $1 million. But she was forced to drop the price 11 times, and instead, she’ll be tearing the house down.

In March, Charleston’s Board of Architectural Review approved the demolition, which is not an easy decision in Charleston’s historic district. Boineau is one of many homeowners on the front lines of society’s confrontation with climate change, as homeowners start thinking about moving to higher grounds. Sea levels have worsened flooding not just in extreme events like hurricanes, but also heavy rains or high tides. Three studies have found evidence that the threat of higher seas is also undermining coastal property values, reports The Washington Post. 

“Each time that I was just finishing up paying off the bills, another flood would hit,” Boineau said to The Post. 

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