How will climate change impact housing affordability?

As one of the most vulnerable locations in the world to sea level rise, South Florida is at the forefront of developing solutions to climate adaptation challenges. Planners, scientists, and activists are working to identify threats and vulnerabilities for our region, as well as opportunities for greater sustainability and resilience. As the region’s challenges are increasingly viewed through these lenses one of our most critical issues, housing, will be a key area of innovation.

Housing, particularly housing affordability, is a major challenge for many people in South Florida and a threat to the economic resiliency of our region. Nearly half (48.5%) of households are cost-burdened, paying more than 30% of their income on housing cost.  The cost of housing will almost certainly increase in South Florida as the predicted impacts of climate change, including heat, storms, and flooding, trigger costly upgrades and retrofits of single-family homes and multi-family buildings. If South Florida is to maintain a housing stock that is resilient to extreme weather and affordable to middle and low-income residents, new solutions will have to be found to finance and adapt existing buildings and encourage the production of new units that are resilient and affordable.

Fortunately there are many opportunities for improving the resiliency of housing to the impacts of climate change while at the same time reducing our environmental impact. Retrofits to reduce energy usage, avoid storm damage and take advantage of insurance incentives can lower costs and improve safety. Implemented at a neighborhood or district scale, such sustainability and resilience strategies could play a substantial role in maintaining the affordability of our region, improving safety and quality of life.

CCE is exploring these issues through our research and mapping of housing affordability, and working with scientists and planners who are assessing climate change impacts and vulnerabilities. Read the recap of our Housing Resilience Forum which brought together practitioners and experts to discuss challenges and identify opportunities.