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Higher ground Miami real estate eyed as sea levels rise

May 18, 2017 (STLRealEstate.News) Climate change and the overall warming of the planet may start to affect real estate trends in major American coastal cities today.  One notable tropical city, Miami, is already witnessing the effects and the new desire to purchase “higher grounded” property that is guaranteed to be protected longer than the sea level – or below sea level – property.  As the Scientific American put it this week: climate change may now be part of the gentrification story in Miami real estate.

Broadway Harewood, a real estate investor in Miami, recalled a time when he first learned about the possibility of rising sea levels in Miami and what it would do to real estate.  He states that with the rising sea levels, it’s bringing expensive investors to more historically black neighborhoods.  With them come higher property values, prices that black families are not going to be able to afford.

“Oh, Miami Beach is going under, the sea level is coming up,” Harewood said.  “So now the rich people have to find a place to live.  My property is 15 feet above sea level, theirs is what?  Three under?” Elaborating further, Harewood said that developers are now planning to knock down the projects and push out the black families so rich families can set up shop in an area that is safer – and drier.  “If there’s anything more complicated than the worldwide sea-level rise, it might be the forces of real estate speculation and the race-based historical housing patterns that color present-day gentrification in Miami.”

Harewood went on to state that one of the great ironies of the problem in Miami today is that from decades under Jim Crow law, laws forced black families to move into the interiors of cities.  Today, that very Miami interior is starting to be more desirable to the individuals who once pushed the black families away.  Gentrification is in full swing, and it’s being exacerbated by the global climate change trends today.