Erosion and Sea Level Rise Causes Luxury Waterfront Homes To Sell at a Fraction of Their Price

By: Stephanie Bontorin | Published: Apr 22, 2024

Sellers at a luxury waterfront development in Massachusetts have had to deal with a depressing reality about their home. 

Due to the slow sea level rise and coastal erosion, their home values have had to be slashed by as much as 75% in value. 

Nantucket No Longer Livable

The dreamy seaside community of Nantucket has long been a favorite of east coasters to head to during the summer to sit on the beach and relax.

A view of dry grass and sad next to the ocean

Source: Jack Cohen/Unsplash

But after issues with coastal erosion have threatened the lifestyle on the island, sellers have been forced to take some big losses.

Massive Losses Financially and Emotionally

Sellers of a massive three-bedroom, two-bathroom waterfront home in Nantucket have been faced with a difficult reality when the asking price on their beloved home went from $2.3 million to just $600,000.

A large white cottage down a sloping driveway set next to the ocean

Source: @OneKindesign/X

The price reduction came as a shock to the family who thought that their beloved family vacation home would be resold quickly.

Value Drop Related to Global Warming

In a report from The Boston Globe, the dramatic price cut is due in part to the extreme overheating of the planet.

A rocky coastal area with large waves next to hills with lush greenery and a winding highway

Source: Eric Muhr/Unsplash

More specifically, the property lost 70 feet of land due to erosion caused by rising seas. The seas rise when global warming causes massive ice cap to melt in the North and South Poles. 

New York Buyer Takes on the Risk

The price reduction directly reflects the risk that the new owner of the property will need to take on.

A large grey house surrounded by manicured grass next to the ocean

Source: @lhmdcmetro/X

A buyer from New York who frequents the seaside town, Brendan Maddigan, put in an offer on the luxury vacation home after the price dropped.

Prohibitively Expensive Insurance

Although the price reduction allows a bit of cushion for the buyer of the property, they will still need to fork out cash when it comes to the insurance.

A small bridge leading to a lighthouse on a sandy beach in front of a blue sky

Source: Rusty Watson/Unsplash

Due to the increasing issues related to the shoreline disintegrating in a short-period of time, finding an agency to insure the property will be difficult and expensive.


Risks of Storms in the Future

Although nothing might seems amiss when visiting the property on a nice day, the east coast island experiences rough storms during the winter months.

Rough waves move towards a large city

Source: Craig Cameron/Unsplash

The buyer is aware that a bad storm could pose permanent damage to the property. Global warming also ramps up the frequency and duration of storms.


Sea Levels Are Concerning for More Than Just Luxury Vacation Homes

Kathleen Biggins, founder and president of the climate change education organization C-Change Conversations, has a lot to say about the issue the United States will face with rising sea levels.

A large wall of ice crushes into the ocean with dry land in the foreground

Source: Wolf Schram/Unsplash

In a report with Fortune, she stated that as sea levels continue to rise around the globe, land mass will shrink.


Seaside Locations Most at Risk

Just as cities built below sea level, such as New Orleans, remain at high risk during hurricane season, seaside towns and communities will also face the brunt of global warming.

A view of the beach with many palm trees and high rises in the background

Source: Aurora Kreativ/Unsplash

Mario Alegandro Ariza states in his book Disposable City that he fears Miami might not be around in 2067. The massive city is built directly at sea level and will face massive flooding and infrastructure issues if sea levels rise just 5 inches.


A Large Amount of Americans Live in Harm’s Way

Biggins went on in her interview to state that nearly 40% of Americans live in coastal areas. These seaside communities known for their stunning views and excellent climate might not be around for long.

A rainy seaside town with boats in the water and large dark clouds

Source: Ehud Neauhaus/Unsplash

Climate-driven weather events are expected to increase in the future.


Hurricane Season Will Continue To Worsen

In recent years, hurricanes have threatened homes all along the eastern seaboard and they will continue to worsen as global temperatures rise.

View of sand dunes surrounded by small wood fences and green trees

Source: John Kelleher/Unsplash

Another story was published recently about a $500,000 sand dune that was built by a homeowner to protect their vacation property. Despite the homeowner’s best efforts to protect his land against the harsh waves, the dune was promptly swept away and destroyed.


What Is Being Done About Rising Sea Levels?

Without the help of government intervention, homeowners can’t do much about the rising sea levels threatening their properties.

A small white boats sits on a body of water with green grass in the background

Source: Andrew Wolff/Unsplash

Climate scientists are continually working on a solution to avoid massive amounts of displaced Americans in the future.