New research by Florida Realtors® of the effect of polluted water on homeowner property values shows a potential decrease of nearly $1 billion in Lee and Martin counties. This loss is attributable to polluted discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and estuaries, according to the study, which was supported in part by Everglades Foundation.
“For the first time, this study clearly shows that pollution in waters discharged from Lake Okeechobee negatively impacts home sales and prices,” said 2015 Florida Realtors® President Andrew Barbar, a broker with Keller Williams Realty Services in Boca Raton. “The study found that as water quality degrades, home values decrease which could potentially cost Florida’s real estate market nearly $1 billion in Lee and Martin counties alone.
“We know that murky rivers and estuaries, closed beaches, poor fishing and other harmful effects of polluted water discharged into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers hurt tourism in the area, but now we can begin to quantify the harmful economic impact of these discharges on property values.
“Florida Realtors® urges local and state leaders to protect these unique ecosystems that are vital to the state’s economy, real estate industry and most importantly, to Florida’s unique quality of life.”
Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg said the study is important documentation of the need to move water south of the lake to relieve pressure on homeowners.
“Home values matter to Florida families. The Florida Realtors study reveals the extent of economic damage caused by discharges of polluted water from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers and estuaries,” said Eikenberg. “Florida’s leaders have a duty to buy strategic land needed for storage to protect the interests of thousands of homeowners.
“This study underscores the importance of protecting the Florida real estate industry. Sending Lake Okeechobee water south is a first step.”
To learn more about the report’s findings please visit:
Marla Martin, Florida Realtors®
407.438.1400, ext: 2326
Maria M. Garcia, Everglades Foundation