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Is the Risk of Sea Level Rise Capitalized in Residential Real Estate?


  • Justin Murfin
  • Matthew Spiegel
  • Jose Scheinkman


Using a comprehensive database of coastal home sales merged with data on elevation relative to local tides, we compare prices for houses based on their inundation threshold under projections of sea level rise. The analysis separates the sensitivity of housing to rising seas from other confounding characteristics by exploiting cross-sectional differences in relative sea level rise due to vertical land motion. This provides variation in the expected time to inundation for properties of similar elevation and distance from the coast. In a variety of specifications and test settings, we find precisely estimated null results suggesting limited price effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Justin Murfin & Matthew Spiegel & Jose Scheinkman, 2020. "Is the Risk of Sea Level Rise Capitalized in Residential Real Estate?," The Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 33(3), pages 1217-1255.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:33:y:2020:i:3:p:1217-1255.

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    JEL classification:

    • G10 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming


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