As you approach retirement, you, like many Americans, might want to purchase a summer home in Florida. The Sunshine State’s beautiful beaches, warm weather and lack of income tax make it a popular destination for hard-working Americans looking for a little rest.

Florida’s real estate is changing, however. In July 2020, the governor passed several environmental conservation bills. Among the bills regulating sewage runoff and banning the sale of iguanas, the governor signed that addresses public coastline projects and the sinking shorelines.

Rising sea levels and property development

In a bipartisan move, Florida lawmakers pushed through several bills addressing growing climate change concerns. Senate Bill 178 concerns the public financing of construction projects along the shore. The bill requires state-financed developers to study the environmental impact of their proposed construction on Florida’s rising sea levels. The research must prove that the project addresses environmental concerns and will not contribute to the local flood risk. With nearly two-thirds of Florida’s population living along the coast, these new projects will impact most residents, including retirees.

The coast of Florida has lost three inches since 1993, due to a combination of rising sea levels and land subsidence (sinking). Studies indicate that, without measures like SB 178, the water level could increase another 54 inches by 2070. At that level, Florida’s beachfront properties could flood 26 times every single year.

The residential impact

Even if you are only looking for a quiet retirement home, this new law speaks to the future of Florida real estate. Newer homes that account for these environmental studies will likely use construction techniques that protect the property and your investment. Large buildings close to your new home may impact surrounding sea levels while older homes may require retrofitting with flood-prevention systems.

Making a smart investment may be challenging, but you will find more success working alongside a lawyer familiar with Florida’s evolving real estate laws. An attorney can help locate future-proof properties, recommend a trustworthy real estate agent and help you purchase the retirement home you deserve.