Housing and property - latest news and research
Drought from falling aquifers is mostly in the West, right? Not this year! Check out some solutions.
New England got about half the rain it needs last summer. Much of northeastern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire are in an extreme drought, and wells are going dry all over the place. The drought is expected to last through the fall. On top of problems for agriculture, a shortened fall foliage season could really hurt tourism as well.
There’s no immediate solution, but many […]
Washington’s flood insurance “relief” bill expires September 2017. Good for taxpayers; scary for housing markets.
A while back Congress noticed the huge deficit caused from subsidized flood insurance rates and jacked them up to cover actual losses. (You know like a real insurance company.) Many homeowners’ rates tripled. The shouts were deafening. The resulting Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act brought rates back down, but that ‘relief’ from reality expires next September.
Congress and the casualty insurance industry are looking at […]
Human migration from climate change: any parallels to animal migration?
I’ve long written that pulling up stakes and moving to a more climate-proof hometown will be the most effective way to protect against the growing costs from warming. Drastic, yes, but for many families, migration will be necessary to avoid physical damage from flooding and drought, as well as financial threats to property values, local taxes, and health, plus general economic decline.
We’re not the […]
Wall Street spends huge on predictive models. So does the military. So why doesn’t Washington even try to predict the extent of flooding in Louisiana?
When updated flood maps for the New York City region were created in 2013, residents were shocked to find the flood zone had expanded to include double the number of houses and businesses since the maps were produced less than twenty years before. This change was driven by new […]
Deferred maintenance is straining street repair budgets. One solution: tear up the potholed pavement, put down gravel.
In Omaha, where well-off suburban streets are being removed, resentment is high, lawsuits are threatened, and the conflict appears long-term. But Omaha residents may just be the noisiest. Almost half of Michigan counties have taken some roads back to gravel. Lots of other states and towns have started doing the same.
As the country warms, heat, flooding and […]
Sure, insurance helps those who get their claims paid. But the rest of us benefit too.
If insured, your neighbors clean up their damaged properties faster. Fewer buildings are abandoned. And your middle-class neighborhood (and home value) is less likely to take an economic dive.
Another climate-proofing effect of insurance: premium discounts encourage homeowners to take hazard-mitigation steps before a disaster.
If you live in a high-risk area, chances […]
Oyster-attracting surfaces are being scattered along the waterfront of Providence, RI. One purpose is to act as coastal buffering, weakening waves and reducing erosion during the increasingly violent storms and rising seas of coming decades. When the forms, called SHELL-ter, become encrusted with shellfish they’re expected to inexpensively protect the decaying seawall and pilings. A single adult oyster can also filter up to 50 gallons daily, improving water quality.
Remember energy audits? Soon you could benefit from a flood audit.
An expert came to your home, measured how your much energy you were wasting and how, with a few simple fixes, you could save on heating and electricity bills.
Now a RI state commission wants to offering flood audits. An expert would visit a property or business, do a flood risk assessment of the land, assets, and structure, and give […]
Building codes are out-of-date in many weather-threatened areas. A new iPad applet helps homeowners upgrade to minimize damage from increasingly severe weather. Videos, animations, and technical specifications for building and retrofitting single family homes, from Munich Re and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.
Soft defenses (think wetlands, vegetation) defend the shore more cheaply and effectively from storm surge and sea-level rise than concrete structures. That sturdy wall in front of your place may protect you but “dramatically alter what’s going on next door. Local erosion rates seem to just skyrocket,” according to Northeastern University. For cost-effective projects: municipal and state officials take note.