warnings are worrisome, but the response is underway

Last November, 300 scientists and 13 federal agencies collaborated to produce the latest National Climate Assessment, a congressionally-mandated quadrennial report on climate change and its expected effects on our nation and the world. The results presented a stark picture of what kind of world we may leave our children if nothing is done to change our role in this global issue.

South Florida is well-known as the canary in the coal mine for how climate change may affect U.S. coastal areas, as many of the worrisome predictions in the report are already taking place here and have been for some time – rising tidal levels, hotter temperatures, potentially stronger hurricanes, increased flooding, vanishing coral reefs, and longer mosquito seasons.

Luckily, the region is also known for its proactive response to this issue, particularly in the real estate market.


Real estate buyers and investors are showing their concern about climate change in their purchase decisions. They want to be sure the view (and the property itself) will be there for generations to come.

South Florida has shown its commitment to solving the problem and put its money where its mouth is, to the tune of $200 million dollars to counteract flooding associated with higher sea levels. The Florida Keys are preparing to spend as much as $500,000 for each mile of road that will be raised up out of harm’s way.


Key structural elements of coastal cities, particularly those in South Florida, are at great risk. These include bridges, roads, transportation, and power grids. If left unchecked, sea levels could render sections of the U.S. coastlines uninhabitable.

Local efforts to combat this go back a decade or more. In 2009, four counties – Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach – teamed up to form the Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact to coordinate efforts across county lines. Their initiatives have included:

  • New building codes in Miami Beach that require all new construction to be elevated.
  • A high-rise in downtown Miami designed to stand firm against 300 mph winds, a major selling point to potential buyers.
  • Certain South Florida developers raise their property with additional soil and install high sea walls.

Planning and zoning boards across the region continue to scrutinize building codes and implement proactive changes to raise height limitations for sea walls, place roads, water, sewer, and electrical systems on the higher ground, and install massive pumps to send water back into the sea.

The Environment

The most commonly-understood impact of climate change is on the natural world. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the National Climate Assessment cites many environmental concerns which play a major role.

South Florida is home to a growing number of municipalities who embrace green building standards to combat climate change and support sustainability. Support from investors and property owners have spawned some significant efforts in Miami. According to the 2017 National Green Adoption Index, 12.29 percent of the city’s commercial real estate is certified as green, or 33.91 percent of total square footage in green buildings.

In addition, with the assistance of the Office of Miami Resilience and Sustainability, city officials have racked up the following accomplishments:

  • LEED Silver Certification requirements for all new projects over 50,000 square feet.
  • Expedited permitting for green projects and density bonuses for buildings that meet certain targets.
  • Financing for upgrades in energy efficiency, hurricane hardening, and renewable installations.

Green construction pays off not only for the environment but for the bottom line. According to Miami-Dade Green, businesses that opt to go green save 15 to 30 percent on cleaning costs, 35 percent on energy bills, and as much as 60 percent on water.

Cities and Towns

Eighty-five percent of the U.S. population lived in major cities in 2015, and this trend is expected to continue well into the future. Cities are responsible for around 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, which gives them significant influence on local policy on how to handle the problem.

The South Florida real estate market has seen opportunity on the horizon and dipped its toe into the tiny space and micro-unit movements, opening doors to a more sustainable and affordable way to live in the heart of a major city.

Morris Southeast Group is certain that South Florida’s best days lie ahead, despite the challenges posed by climate change.

Let us help you find the property that fits your budget and needs. For a free consultation, call Morris Southeast Group at 954.474.1776. You can also reach Ken Morris directly at 954.240.4400 or via email at kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.


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