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Floodplain homes in the US are overvalued by a total of $34 billion

This recent paper by Miyuki Hino (University of North Carolina) and Marshall Burke (Stanford) makes the case that US homes situated within floodplains are currently overvalued by a total of $34 billion. And that’s because the associated risks are not being properly accounted for in the value of these homes.

The problem, it would seem, comes down to information. Because the discount for flood risk was found to be higher (1) for commercial buyers (presumably because they’re more sophisticated and/or have better access to information) and (2) in states where sellers must disclose flood risk (Louisiana is probably the most stringent about this).

This feels a bit like one of those realtor commercials that tries to scare you into using one. But it does appear to demonstrate just how opaque the market can be and how information asymmetries potentially distort asset prices. Perhaps most importantly, I wonder when climate risk will get fully valued.

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