Add the term "climate change" to your home buying checklist
It is no longer possible to ignore the effects of climate change.
With forest fires, hurricanes, and other disasters threatening homes – especially along the coast – this is a key issue for homeowners.
However, there is still some uncertainty about home buying and climate change.
Are weather patterns still a minor consideration? Or is it time to move to a safer region?
Of course, the answer will be different for everyone. However, knowing the facts can help you make a more informed buying decision.
We looked at the most and least at risk areas to buy a house in the age of climate change and asked real estate experts for advice.
Here's what we learned:
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Where is climate change already affecting real estate?
A recent Redfin poll found that most Americans think about climate change when they decide to buy or sell a home. However, some are far more concerned about the effects than others.
The highest concentrations of home buyers and sellers who are "very concerned" about the environment were in:
Houston, TX (58%) New York City, NY (47%) Miami, FL (46%) Austin, TX (44%) Los Angeles, CA (43%) San Francisco, CA (41%) South Carolina (40%) )%)
This should come as no surprise. Most of the areas where people are “very concerned” are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Map of Climate Change: Natural Disasters in the US over 100 Years
This map, taken from the McHarg Center's Atlas for a Green New Deal, shows where some of the worst environmental disasters hit the US in the last century.
Source: The McHarg Center
As the McHarg Center says, "With climate change, the number, frequency and intensity of these events are likely to increase."
Therefore, it makes sense that home buyers and sellers in these areas should focus on climate change.
However, as the effects spread, more home buyers need to focus on climate change.
Climate Map: US Environmental Risks by Region
Climate change will affect each area of the United States differently.
While it is difficult to answer how badly each region will be affected, scientists have a good idea of how climate change will affect them.
Forest fires earthquake Floods Hurricanes
Source: The McHarg Center
A second map from the McHarg Center shows how likely different parts of the United States are affected by climate change. from forest fires to earthquakes, floods and hurricanes.
Some homeowners have already felt its effects, especially those hit by forest fires on the west coast and hurricanes in the southeast.
So far, however, it hasn't been enough to get most home buyers to retreat to a higher level.
Homeowners are concerned but aren't moving yet
Almost three in four home buyers and sellers say the intensity or frequency of natural disasters affects their decisions about where and whether to sell or buy a home.
In fact, only 10% of home buyers said climate change is not affecting their decision-making process.
However, these concerns have not led to any significant changes in home prices or buying habits.
In the report, Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather said:
"Climate change is important to home hunters, but when the time really comes to decide where to buy a home, other factors that feel more immediate, like affordability and access to jobs, outweigh other factors."
"Climate change … is outweighed by other factors that feel more immediate, such as affordability and access to jobs." –Daryl Fairweather, Chief Economist, Redfin
"Environmental changes may take into account their thought processes, but not yet their actions," continues Fairweather.
However, the effects of climate change are getting worse every year as wildfires, hurricanes and warmer temperatures put more strain on the US.
With this in mind, do you need to think more seriously about climate change when buying a home? Would it even be worth moving to a new city or state?
Tips for Buying a Home in Times of Climate Change
Of course, not everyone will make a buying decision based on climate change.
Many people love the area they live in and are more willing to adapt than move.
However, if you are in a high-risk area (such as an area below sea level), you might consider taking a bigger step more seriously.
Either way, there are some tips you can follow to make a better long-term home buying decision. According to the experts:
Examine the area carefully. Do a Google search for the name of the market along with a "Climate Vulnerability Assessment" for key research. "Find out how well the emergency area is prepared," said Rick Sharga, President and CEO of the CJ Patrick Company. . “In the event of a natural disaster, are there enough roads on which the residents can evacuate? Are local first responder services sufficient to provide relief? How far are hospitals and other medical facilities? "
Find out if the city / state has one Climate protection plan and what these plans are
Determine the cost and level of Homeowner insurance Protection you need, including separate flood insurance (if required). “Remember, insurance costs to cover floods, fires and other natural disaster damage are likely to increase in areas at increased risk for climate change,” he says Phil Georgiades with FedHome Loan Centers
Check if the house can withstand various natural disasters. “If not, see if it can be refurbished for security,” Sharga adds. "Take this into account in your purchase price"
This final piece of advice can be especially useful if you are buying in an area that is at high risk of natural disasters.
It doesn't just depend on the location, but also on the house and its functions.
By budgeting security features and necessary upgrades, you can make a purchasing decision that is more secure (both physical and financial) in the long run.
Safer Markets To Consider When Buying A Home
Which areas of the country could be safer for home buyers in the face of climate change?
Different experts offer different advice.
However, some metropolitan areas and areas are consistently recommended as they may be less affected by climate change and the natural disasters it can cause.
According to a survey or real estate professionals from BusinessInsider, these cities and their immediate vicinity top the list:
Tulsa, OK – Safe rise in sea levelHartford, CT – Safe rise in sea levelBoulder, CO – Self-sufficient water supplyMinneapolis / Saint Paul, MN – Protected from hurricanes and floodsCharlotte, NC – Safer from hurricanes in the southPittsburgh, PA – Less extreme cold
A paper published by researchers in 2016 also covered Michigan's upper peninsula; Seattle, WA; Northern Minnesota; and Portland, Oregon.
It has been suggested that these areas could experience more moderate weather conditions and temperatures in the coming years, which could make them safer in the age of climate change.
A popular science study also predicted the west will continue to warm and dry out, with forest fires spreading over larger areas and western states getting 6.5 degrees hotter.
Climate change map: temperature changes in the US
Some areas of the United States have already warmed significantly – by up to 5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 120 years.
Image: Washington Press. Data: NOAA
These temperature changes will be more extreme in the years to come. This leads to more extreme weather risks in the same areas.
Insights from real estate experts
According to Sharga, the most obvious climate-related factors home buyers need to think about are areas hit by floods and hurricanes.
"In addition to areas that have historically been viewed as floodplains, there is concern that coastal properties will be flooded as sea levels continue to rise," Sharga says.
"This includes coastal areas in the southeast and extends along the Gulf Coast – affecting buyers in states like Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas."
The most obvious climate-related factors for home buyers to think about are areas hit by floods and hurricanes.
Also, buyers in the western and southwestern regions – including California, Arizona and Colorado – need to pay special attention to areas prone to forest fires, Sharga adds.
Keith Baker is the Mortgage Banking Program Coordinator and Faculty at North Lake College. He says he would consider moving to areas like Boston, Massachusetts. Madison, Wisconsin; Denver, Colorado; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“Remember to move to areas that are cooler now. Keep in mind that temperatures in central North America are expected to rise an average of 6 degrees higher, ”suggests Baker.
"Aim for higher areas as a certain altitude can be helpful both in braving the heat and in escaping floods." –Keith Baker, Mortgage Lending Program, North Lake College
“Aim for higher areas, as elevation can be helpful in both weathering the heat and escaping floods. And live away from the coast, which will see an eroded and shrunken coastline. "
Suzanne Hollander is a real estate attorney and senior instructor at Florida International University. She advises using common sense before buying in an area that is already known for natural disasters.
"In Florida there is always
Risks for hurricanes and storm damage. In areas below sea level
You have to worry about flooding. In Tennessee we just saw
terrible tornadoes, ”she says.
Climate change resources for home buyers
There are numerous studies and interactive maps that show how climate change is affecting specific regions, states, and cities in the United States.
These can be great resources for potential buyers looking to make a safe investment.
The bottom line is that the effects of climate change are already there.
Many people will still be willing to shop in riskier areas thanks to its other perks – such as beaches, forests, and waterways.
However, making a strategic decision about the location and features of your home is critical to your safety and investment in the long run.
So do your research, speak to real estate professionals in the area you are looking to buy, and make sure you balance your location preferences with the risks they may pose.
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