The Climate Impacts on Real Estate

Image: Don Becker, USGS/Flickr

Yesterday, the real estate listing site Realtor.com made a major step in disclosing climate risks associated with listed homes. As NPR reported, the site has “become the first site to disclose information about a home’s flood risk and how climate change could increase that risk in the coming decades, potentially signaling a major shift in consumers’ access to information about climate threats.”

Why This Matters: As we wrote earlier this summer, a recent analysis revealed that millions of American homes are at a growing risk of extreme flooding. And home buyers should understand the potential risks they’re assuming in making a major purchase.

Additionally, the housing market doesn’t adequately account for the risks of climate change. For instance, mortgage lenders, portfolio managers and buyers of mortgages don’t take into account climate-induced floods, except to determine if a house sits in a 100-year floodplain at the time the mortgage is issued. But once that risk is reflected, mortgages may become much more difficult for Americans to attain.

Climate change will very much affect real estate markets, and both investors and individual buyers must prepare themselves. We should also remedy the fact that rich neighborhoods are more likely to get flood relief money that their lower-income counterparts.

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