Undeterred by climate change, US homeowners are moving to climate-vulnerable areas
Some of the most highly prized real estate in the U.S. exists in areas considered high risk for wildfires, flooding, or drought. Despite this present and growing danger, many Americans are still moving to climate-vulnerable regions.
This may be because some people are willing to take the risk if it means living in their dream home—an attempt to defy nature for one’s own hubris. To better educate prospective homebuyers, real estate brokerage site Redfin now provides a climate risk assessment for every property which includes flood, drought, heat, storm, and fire risk data at a glance. Even with the power of this information, homes with high fire risk are selling for $120,000 more than low-risk properties, per Refin’s June 2022 report.
As housing demand increases, so, too, do the impacts of climate change. Homebuilders and homebuyers are expanding into vulnerable regions called the wildland urban interface—the area where real estate abuts or intermixes with natural land like forests or grassland. A forest without homes in or along the edge is just a forest. But when developers introduce commercial or residential properties, it becomes a wildland-urban interface, or WUI. The U.S.’s WUI, in terms of acreage, grew by 33% over 20 years. Nearly all of that growth resulted from new housing—roughly 14 million homes—being built in or along natural land.
Housing along the U.S. coastline, especially the East Coast, is also at risk. Within the next 30...