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Mother Nature Impacting Housing Relocation Choices

hurricane vortexA new report from Redfin has found that an increasing number of Americans are factoring in the climate when deciding where to live. Out of the 2,000 respondents surveyed, Redfin found that 628 planned on moving in the next year. People aged 35- to 44-years-old were most likely to say that natural disasters, extreme temperatures, and/or rising sea levels played a role in their decision to move, followed by respondents aged 25- to 34-years-old. Respondents aged 45 or older were less likely to indicate that these risks factored into their decision to relocate.

"Climate change is making certain parts of the country less desirable to live in," said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. "As Americans leave places that are frequently on fire or at risk of going underwater, the destinations that don't face those risks will become increasingly competitive and expensive for homebuyers."

Nearly 80% of the 2,000 polled by Redfin said that increasing frequency or intensity of natural disasters in an area would make them hesitant to purchase a home there. A slightly lower share—approximately 75%—would be hesitant to buy a home in a place with extreme temperatures and/or rising sea levels. Nearly 25% said they wouldn't consider moving to an area with extreme temperatures, even if it were more affordable than a comparable area without such risk. The share was slightly higher—28% and 30%, respectively—when Redfin asked about natural disasters and rising sea levels.

Regionally, respondents in the Midwest were the least likely to say that climate-change risks were a factor in their decision to relocate. Slightly more than 40% of respondents in the Midwest said the increasing frequency or intensity of natural disasters played a role in their decision to move in the next year, compared with more than half of respondents in other regions.

Many have left the Napa, California region due to an increase in wildfires in recent years, according to Redfin Real Estate Agent Christopher Anderson.

"After wildfires destroyed much of Napa in 2017, the community rallied together and rebuilt, but when fires ravaged our area again in 2020, some folks just decided they were done," Anderson said. "I had one client in St. Helena whose home burned down in the last fire and only half of it was covered by the insurance company. She relocated to New York."

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About Author: Eric C. Peck

Eric C. Peck has 20-plus years’ experience covering the mortgage industry, he most recently served as Editor-in-Chief for The Mortgage Press and National Mortgage Professional Magazine. Peck graduated from the New York Institute of Technology where he received his B.A. in Communication Arts/Media. After graduating, he began his professional career with Videography Magazine before landing in the mortgage space. Peck has edited three published books and has served as Copy Editor for Entrepreneur.com.

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