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Retirees Rethinking Where They’ll Retire

Climate change and recent storms have more older adults rethinking a coastal location. It’s not a fear of storms – it’s a fear of having to rebuild in their 80s.

NEW YORK – A small but growing number of older people are taking climate change into account when choosing a retirement destination, real estate agents and other experts say. Armed with climate studies, many retirees started looking for communities that are less likely to experience extreme weather events, such as wildfires, drought and flooding.

In an analysis of nearly 1.4 million home sales along Florida’s coasts, University of Pennsylvania researchers found that the sales volume of homes in areas where 70% of developed land was less than six feet above sea level dropped by up to 20% between 2013 and 2018, while sales rose on less-vulnerable coastal land.

Prices on homes in riskier areas declined between 2018 and 2020.

The lead researcher, Benjamin Keys, a professor of real estate and finance at the university’s Wharton School, said the biggest sales declines occurred in Florida coastal communities where retirees from the Northeast – particularly those who lived in counties exposed to Hurricane Sandy in 2012 – tended to move.

During the pandemic, Florida coastal home sales and prices spiked as buyers fled urban living for warmer climes – but Dr. Keys expects the pre-pandemic trends to resume as population relocations return to more normal conditions.

Source: New York Times (11/18/22) Garland, Susan B.

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