How climate change is affecting the housing market


There are various factors to consider when buying a home, and a new study suggests climate change is joining that list.

A Bloomberg News report by ATTOM Data Solutions found that in the last decade, the average home price for areas with little risk for flooding, hurricanes and wildfires is higher than areas with the risks.

After taking the annual change in home sales and prices from 3,397 cities across the country, ATTOM Data divided the cities into five groups based on their exposure to natural disasters.

ATTOM Data found home prices increased by an average of 7.3 percent between 2007 and 2017. Although, they also found a strong decrease in natural disaster vulnerable areas.

Regarding natural disasters and home prices, the data looked at three different types of natural disasters: hurricanes, flooding and wildfires.

For hurricanes, the average home price for areas with a very low risk for the storms increased by 9.1 percent. Home prices for areas with low risks dropped by 8.1 percent and 2.4 percent in areas with moderate risks. Prices in areas with high risks dropped 2.4 percent while very high risk area homes decreased in price by 9.1 percent.

As far as flooding, the average home price in low risk areas increased by 9.6 percent from 2007 to 2017. Prices in very low risk areas rose 8.4 percent and 4.9 percent in moderate risk areas. Prices dropped over the same time period by 4.8 percent in very high risk areas and 5.6 percent in high risk areas.

Areas with a very low risk of wildfires saw an increase of 9.5 percent in prices from 2007 to 2017. Prices in low risk areas increased 7.9 percent. Both moderate and very high risk areas saw a 2.2 percent rise. The only areas to see a drop were high risk areas at 1.1 percent.

Experts on climate change also attribute the varying home prices to the idea that people living in the high risk areas have already lived through natural disasters. Residents know the risk.

“It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when,” said University of Colorado at Boulder professor Asaf Bernstein.

According to Carolyn Kousky, director of policy research at the Risk Management and Decision Processed Center at the Wharton School, the prices vary so much because home buyers must weigh the risks of disaster with the amenities of living near forests or water.

“It’s probably very likely that people are starting to have a greater awareness of disaster risk,” Kousky said in the report. “The tricky part is that some of the riskiest areas are also such high amenities.”

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