I'd love to purchase in Foster City but it seems like even a small rise in sea level would be catastrophic. Thoughts?

Asked by Paul K, Redondo Beach, CA Sat May 7, 2011

I’ve been looking at rising water levels and wondering about the risk. Of course nobody knows exactly what will happen, however there was just an article that said a variety of factors, not necessarily global warming, may cause the local water levels to rise somewhat quickly.

Here is a study which projects the impact to Foster City on a 16 inch water rise:

I really hope this doesn't happen because I love riding my bike along the water in Foster City. But with a home purchase I think it’s fit to ask hard questions.

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Donna Black’s answer
Donna Black, Agent, Burlingame, CA
Sat May 7, 2011
I checked the BCDC maps....it would be catastrophic if and when it happened unless sea walls were
erected...with the economy the way it is and has been the cities haven't raised the levies along the
San Mateo side of the Bay which is why FEMA stepped in and in 2001 made these flood zones and
Flood insurance is now required...not inexpensive... your decision....based on the facts you discover.
Donna Black
Web Reference:  http://www.donnablack.com
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sun May 8, 2011
Professional code of ethics would prevent any Realtor to render an opinion.

If you have concerns search for another area(s)

Lynn911 Dallas Realtor & Consultant, Loan Officer, Credit Repair Advisor
The Michael Group - Dallas Business Journal Top Ranked Realtors
0 votes
David Tapper, Agent, Burlingame, CA
Sun May 8, 2011
Best of luck, Paul. If you have any questions or need any help, please let me know.


0 votes
Paul K, Landlord, Redondo Beach, CA
Sun May 8, 2011
Thanks all for your perspectives! At this point I'm leaning towards being west of El Camino, even a bit up on the hill. David, you said it well in terms of "You need to be happy where you live." It's a tough one because I love being near the water now (as a renter) but as an owner I think I'd worry.
0 votes
juliette Naj…, Agent, San Mateo, CA
Sat May 7, 2011
Hi Paul,
I prefer to be "optimistic" and never think about it. 16inches? wow!!! .that means half of the Peninsula will be inondated... May God Almighty forbid....
My advice to you.. live where you feel happy to go home..., life is a short journey..., do not loose your time thinking of the unthinkable. Foster City is a very beautiful, serene, clean city.
Whatever is your choice, good luck and hope to see you tomorrow during my open house on Monticello - in the Highlands in San Mateo.
0 votes
RicaRuiz, Agent, Burlingame, CA
Sat May 7, 2011
Hello Paul,
As a long time Foster City Realtor & resident, I certainly hope this doesn't happen but, just as everyone has commented, none of us can predict the future.

There are various issues and potential dangers in any city you live and one must weigh the risk versus rewards of each community.

With that said, I have lived in Foster City for over 7 years and it is an amazing community. Great schools, close to many amenities and opportunities to get involved in various city events. Overall the parks are clean and a safe place for kids to play and families to foster healthy relationships.

All the best to you in your home search.
Rica Ruiz
Web Reference:  http://www.ricaruiz.com
0 votes
David Tapper, Agent, Burlingame, CA
Sat May 7, 2011
It could happen within the next 100 years. If it concerns you that much and would make you paranoid, then you should find a nice home someplace else. You need to be happy where you live.

I'm a born and raised San Franciscan and I never, ever think about earthquakes. It would drive me crazy. Most buyers who are looking in Foster City are more concerned with landfill, not the big flood.

How about the West side of San Mateo?


0 votes
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Sat May 7, 2011
Hi Paul, I completely understand your concern, I'm 80 feet above sea level and have pondered the same "what if" scenario myself.

Sometimes it's a good idea to approach a particular concern from an opposing relative perspective.

Obviously, we cannot predict the future; however, in the possible scenario of rising sea levels we have access to relatively cheap insurance in order to mitigate risk of economic loss.

However, I believe the more disconcerting issue is the likelihood of a Bay Area earthquake. Consider the following:

1) Earthquake insurance is much more expensive (and has a huge deductible).
2) Much of Foster City is in a liquefaction zone.

Here are some sites to visit in order to help you reduce your risk and/or arrive at a decision:
http://www.abag.ca.gov/bayarea/eqmaps/mapsba.html (has a shake map)

Best, Steve
0 votes
Anna M Brocco, Agent, Williston Park, NY
Sat May 7, 2011
Unfortunately since none of us can predict the future, to buy or not, is a decision only you can make based on your comfort level....
0 votes
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