Kiwis warned about buying coastal properties amid rising sea levels

You may want to think twice about building or buying a home near the coast, house price valuation company QV warns.

It's estimated that at least 10,000 coastal properties will be uninsurable by 2050, due to rising sea levels. 

QV general manager David Nagel says coastal property sales boom during summer.

"This time of the year it's always a very hot commodity."

But buyers should beware, as beachfront properties are at risk of rising sea levels.

QV is warning that insurance companies may refuse to cover some coastal properties in a few decades.

"I think as New Zealanders we probably have a 'she'll be right' attitude, and that worries me," Nagel says.

"We expect those numbers are likely to be higher, that's the most conservative number we have," Climate Sigma managing director Belinda Storey says.

All it takes is one big storm to put backyards in the ocean, and Storey says sea walls aren't the answer.

"Sea walls are only ever going to be a short-term solution we need to be having a conversation about how we're going to move back from the beach, move back from the coasts."

Instead, we should start talking about banning new beachfront builds.

"We need to be stopping that activity as soon as we can," Storey says.

Uninsurable homes could become unsellable, or even worthless.

"If you can't get insurance, most mainstream banks will not lend you money to purchase a property," Nagel says.

"So, of course, that's going to significantly reduce the pool of buyers that are going to potentially purchase that property. One would expect what would follow is a reduction of prices."

QV warns anyone considering a beachfront probably to ask their insurer for advice first, to avoid buying a million-dollar view - only to have it washed away.