No matter where you live, there is a risk of natural disaster. The likelihood may be higher or lower, especially when comparing different types of disasters in different areas, but the possibility is always there. Since Realtor.com started displaying flood and wildfire risk data two years ago, they’ve been analyzing how prospective buyers use the information to make their homebuying decisions and how it affects prices.
Unsurprisingly, homes with lower risk of natural disaster tend to appreciate faster. Areas with low flood risk appreciate about 1.7% more quickly than areas with high flood risk, and this increased from 1.5% in the wake of flood disasters occurring in July-September 2021. Homebuyers also tend to have a preference for lower risk areas, despite the higher prices, showing awareness of natural disaster risk. The difference is even greater for wildfire risk at 3.7%, but there have been no significant shifts recorded in this value. However, buyers don’t show the same preference for areas with lower wildfire risk as they do for areas with lower flood risk. This could be because they’re more concerned about higher prices, possibility due to the difference being greater. However, there also isn’t a clear preference for cheaper, higher risk areas in some of the most wildfire prone states, such as California. It’s possible this is because homebuyers feel the risk is relatively high regardless of where they are living in California, or because risk and price point are both of relatively equal concern.