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Analyzing Climate Risk in the Home Search Process

Redfin has announced that it is now publishing wind risk data provided by First Street Foundation for nearly every for-sale U.S. property listed on its website, Redfin.com.

Nearly half (49%) of U.S. residents who moved in the last year believe the increasing frequency or intensity of natural disasters, extreme temperatures, and/or rising sea levels will likely impact home values in their area in the next 10 years, according to a Redfin-commissioned survey conducted by Qualtrics in May and June 2023. Still, only about 5% of respondents who moved in the last year or plan to move in the next year listed climate change as a reason for their relocation. A recent Redfin study showed that counties more vulnerable to flooding, wildfires and heat have seen more people move in than out from 2021-2022. That’s partly due to the housing affordability crisis, which has increased migration into less expensive but more climate-risky areas.

First Street Foundation’s Wind Factor is a property-level risk model that estimates the likelihood of wind damage based on current and projected wind exposure from hurricanes. Wind Factor also takes into account how wind exposure may shift in the next 30 years, which is the typical timespan for a mortgage.

“Redfin strives for relentless transparency around climate risks for folks on their home-searching journey,” said Redfin VP of Product Ariel Dos Santos. “As climate disasters such as hurricanes become more severe and frequent, it’s critical that we show homebuyers how effects like wind damage may impact their home.”

This wind risk data will be available on the Redfin app later this year. Redfin also features First Street Foundation climate risk data at the property-level for wildfire, flood, and extreme heat.

“Wind Factor’s uniqueness is that it’s hyper-local and specific to wind damage rather than broader climate threats such as storms,” said First Street Foundation CEO Matthew Eby. “Through Redfin, every person searching for a home will now have access to the most granular climate-risk data available, empowering them with the tools they need to make educated decisions on where to live.”

There’s good reason to believe that transparency around climate risks has the potential to impact which homes people choose to live in. Redfin found last year that homebuyers who have access to flood-risk information when browsing home listings online are more likely to view and make offers on homes with lower flood risk than those who don’t have access.

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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