Rising sea levels could wash away $3.1B in Maine property. See how your neighborhood might fare.

If sea levels rise six feet by the year 2100 as projected, that would put an estimated $3.1 billion in Maine residential real estate under water.

The property site Zillow matched up its proprietary data on current home values with federal projections of how sea level rise would affect coastal areas to determine where properties stand to be submerged by encroaching seas.

Maine’s mostly rocky coast would fare better than most, but even inland areas could be affected.

The year 2100 is a fairly long time away, but the projections for sea level rise also stand to have an economic impact in the state, as insurers reassess the risk of waterfront properties.

Zillow estimates that about 1 percent of existing homes in Maine are at risk, with about 5,412 that would be put underwater by a six foot increase in sea levels. That is, properties at risk of having at least their first floors submerged.

That level of increase could mean a whole other level of difficulty for homeowners with mortgages, who will be required to buy flood insurance they didn’t have to purchase before. That’s exacerbated by changes meant to bolster the financially strapped federal flood insurance program, bringing grandfathered homes more in line with actuarial rates.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Zillow found the median value of coastal homes at risk was much higher than than the national median price. The site said homes that would be underwater with a six-foot rise in sea levels had a median price of $296,296, compared with the median price for all homes of $187,000.

For homeowners, if you’re really concerned about flood risk, you should get the land properly surveyed before assessing your options — or, before considering the map below a definitive sign of flood risk.

Zillow didn’t provide a state-by-state review of exactly where waters are expected to rise, but with a little mapping work, we’ve produced a rough look at the areas that are most at risk, plotted against a state database of residential addresses.

That review is the mapping equivalent of a back-of-the-envelope calculation, so don’t take the map to the bank (or insurance agent).

Use the search feature to find your town and browse where the new shoreline is expected to be if sea water were to rise by six feet.

For best results, type your search including the state’s name as well, i.e. “Bangor, Maine”.

Darren Fishell

About Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.