California has faced a significant number of wildfires this year, and according to Redfin, Los Angeles, Orange & Santa Clara Counties are at risk of losing over $2 Trillion worth of housing due to these fires.
Many of these homes are concentrated in Los Angeles County. This county holds 1,499,576 households, values at $1.2 trillion with an estimated median home value of $625,200, and is one of the regions most susceptible to wildfires in the U.S. Behind Los Angeles County is Orange County, with $502.6 billion in total housing value and a median home value of $709,800. Close behind Orange County is Santa Clara County ($488.5 billion) and San Diego County ($417.6 billion). The median home value in Santa Clara County is the highest of these areas, at $1,110,600.
According to CoreLogic, California and Texas lead the United States in the number of residences and RCV in the high- and extreme-risk categories, but California cannot be topped when it comes to wildfire devastation over the past two years. In 2017, California’s wildfires, including the Tubbs Fire and the Thomas Fire dwarfed previous records for both the size of the fires and the amount of destruction. In 2018, new records were set again for both categories, along with the number of deaths for a single wildfire event, the Camp Fire.
“Homes in places like Malibu, the hills around Los Angeles and wine country in Northern California have historically been desirable because the natural beauty of the surroundings has outweighed the risk of natural disaster,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “But with homebuyers and sellers in fire-prone parts of California really starting to feel how environmental risk factors are impacting both the safety and value of their homes, long-term demand will change, though California overall is unlikely to lose its luster. Demand and prices for homes in fire-prone areas will go down, but as a result they’ll increase in safer parts of the state. California is in the midst of a housing shortage, and the state should take wildfire risk into account when deciding where to focus its building efforts.”