SUFFOLK, Va. (WVEC) — According to the scientists at the First Street Foundation, sea levels are rising, and home values are dropping.

The nonprofit studied five coastal states -- Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia -- between 2005 and 2017. Now, the scientists claim people lost $7.4 billion in their homes' value because of rising sea levels.

They found more than 47,000 properties lost value in Virginia and more than 81,000 lost values in North Carolina.

13News Now went to Old Dominion University’s Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center to speak with Professor Joshua Behr. He’s helped collect data about flooding in Hampton Roads for experts on the city, state, and federal level.

While there, we asked Behr if it's true rising sea levels are lowering home values in Hampton Roads.

“The answer is yes. There is a large impact due to some of the tidal flooding,” said Behr.

Do these numbers mean you shouldn’t buy a home in Hampton Roads?

Behr said, “Definitely not.”

Instead, he suggests that you become proactive by flood-proofing your house and joining the National Flood Insurance Program.

“Installing flood vents or raising your home to make your home less at risk,” said Behr.

Researchers at the First Street Foundation used square footage, proximity to water, amenities, and economic trends to help estimate the value of the home.

Behr said he’s continuing the focused research in Hampton Roads to help people recover for when the big floods hit.

“We have real, grounded truth,” said Behr. “Research, data gathering analysis is happening right here in our region. The impact it may have on our ports, the impact it may have on our economy.”