Italy: effects of global warming on real estate investment

The beach at Martin Sicuro - Italie
The beach at Martin Sicuro – Italie

Global warming will change the real estate investment situation, causing a gradual loss of value of buildings in the areas most exposed to its effects.

The effects of heat waves

Cities, but also tourist resorts more exposed to heat waves will suffer a devaluation of their buildings. Take the case of a city like Bologna, where the thermometer stays above 37 ° C for long weeks, with high humidity, from mid-June to mid-September. Of course this will continue and even get progressively worse, pushing more and more people to leave the city, or at least not to choose it if they are first accessing property. The same goes for the more populated resorts on the coast, those whose traffic is congested during the summer: too many cars and traffic jams give off unbearable heat.


Ditto for coastal localities, or those near rivers which can flood, or in flood zones: their real estate will inevitably lose value.

The combination of various factors linked to global warming – rising sea levels, extreme winds and suffocating heat waves – will lead to an increase in the phenomenon of coastal erosion, with deleterious (and unexpected) effects for the real estate sector. If adequate countermeasures are not taken, there is a risk that the buildings closest to the coast will actually be part of the seabed. And their value is therefore destined to fall rapidly.

And, it should be emphasized, the problem is much more current than we think. The simple risk that a building – or a series of buildings – will be submerged by an abnormal wave or storm or that the ground beneath the foundations will collapse, is already lowering its value today. Studies in Germany, Finland and California have shown, in fact, that houses potentially at risk due to rising sea levels have been sold for much less than their actual value.

According to studies by the IPCC (acronym for “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”), if the global temperature were to rise by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, the melting of glaciers and the rise in level of the oceans will force 280 million people to flee their homes. These, in fact, will literally be submerged by “rising” ocean waters.

And in Italy, the situation is not better. On the contrary: studies carried out by the ENEA show that 5,500 square kilometers of coastal plain in our country are threatened with flooding. Last year, 7 new coastal areas in danger were identified (Pescara, Martinsicuro and Fossacesia in Abruzzo; Lesina in Puglia; Granelli in Sicily; Valledoria in Sardinia and Marina di Campo in Tuscany), which are added to the coastal area of ​​the upper Adriatic between Trieste, Venice and Ravenna; in the Gulf of Taranto; in the plains of Oristano and Cagliari; in Versilia; Fiumicino, Fondi and other areas of Agro Pontino; the coastal plains of Sele and Volturno and the coastal areas of Catania.

Very large areas, therefore, and with a very high level of urbanization: half of the Italian population resides in the 5,500 square kilometers threatened with flooding. In short, if the countermeasures adopted are not effective, the real estate market in these areas could suffer an unprecedented collapse.

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