Rising sea level creates more desirable coastal property

Rising sea levels should be celebrated, says Clayton Rheese-Wells of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand, as they will “create more desirable coastal property.”

In a confidential circular to REINZ members, Rheese-Wells outlined a marketing strategy for property that “isn’t quite coastal, but will be soon.”

“There is vast potential in the housing stock that is one or two properties, or even one or two streets, back from the coast” he told agents, and went on to list specific selling points for listings that on face value, have little or no immediate appeal.

Potential buyers should be reminded for example, that while the beach might be five hundred metres away at the moment, “it won’t be for long.”

“A house on a street currently regarded as inconveniently steep, with through traffic, will become a must-have residence conveniently situated to a boat ramp.”

“Where the view seaward is blocked by another house, or perhaps an inconvenient tree, the smart investor will understand those obstructions will automatically be removed by natural processes, with no recourse needed to costly litigation or the ring-barking in the dead of night we’ve previously advocated.”

For buyers concerned about privacy, the existence of a twenty-metre public esplanade between their property and the water has always been a turn off.  “Agents can confidently assure their clients that such a nuisance is now a strictly temporary problem.”

We asked Rheese-Wells if he thought it ethical to be profiting from a situation commonly regarded as catastrophic. “You have to understand there are synergies to be leveraged here. Our clients have high discretionary income and the sort of vehicles they choose to drive are an excellent fit with climate change.”

On the predicament of existing coastal dwellers, Rheese-Wells was less forthcoming but did say “Our members are always delighted to introduce would-be purchasers to their new home. Further inland.”

He added “Investors should regard the property ladder not so much as vertical, but horizontal. Heading away from the beach.”

Homeowners we spoke to expressed cautious optimism. A couple from Auckland’s Grey Lynn enthused “Well naturally we love being where we are and of course there’s the cafe culture of Ponsonby Road. But won’t it just be so much better when that becomes Ponsonby Strand.”

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