Waterfront real estate confronts new climate realities

Flood risk from climate change to wreak havoc on thousands of properties with REITs


Coastal and waterfront real estate will bear the brunt of new climate realities over the next few decades, leading researchers say.

Around 35 percent of properties owned by real estate investment trusts (REITs) are geographically at risk for climate hazards, CNBC reported, citing a 2018 report by analytics firm Four Twenty Seven and proptech company GeoPhy.

These hazards, which include flooding, elevated sea levels, and cyclones, may affect more than 25,700 properties under REITs.

The report evaluated 321 REITs, representing 73,500 properties.

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“I see elevated risk when it comes to REITs that might be overexposed in areas that are close to sea level and coastal,” Andre Shepley, product manager and research team leader at Truvalue Labs, a provider of sustainability data analytics, told CNBC.

Meanwhile, the Union of Concerned Scientists expects around 300,000 residential and commercial properties in the US to face chronic and disruptive flood risk by 2045, noted Curbed.

Rising seas and flooding will likely cause USD135 billion in property damage and force 280,000 Americans to adapt or relocate by then, the scientists predicted.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies in REITs are growing in acknowledgment of the rising threat of global warming. ESG property funds and real estate investment trusts numbered around 108 last year, representing USD272.4 billion in assets, CNBC reported.