Homebuyers Worry About This Natural Disaster the Most

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More than 80% of U.S. home shoppers weigh climate-change risks when looking for a new house, according to a recent survey from Zillow.

Buying a home is a major investment, and the Zillow survey of nearly 12,000 prospective buyers finds people in the West are especially likely to consider climate risk as “very or extremely impactful” on their home search.

Folks in the Northeast are also concerned while those in the Midwest and South are much less likely to worry about climate threats. Among age groups, millennials appear to worry about climate risks more than other generations.

So, which climate threats scare shoppers the most? Here are the threats that have the biggest impact on a homebuyer’s search.

1. Flood

Sugar Land Texas Flood
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Share of all prospective homebuyers who consider this climate risk: 41%

Age group most likely to consider this climate risk: baby boomers and the Silent Generation (ages 59 and older)

Flooding causes more damage than any other natural disaster, with losses averaging $5 billion annually, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

No matter what region of the country you live in, home shoppers must be aware of the need to protect themselves with flood insurance, as home insurance typically doesn’t cover flood damage. FEMA’s Flood Map Service Center is the “official online location to find all flood hazard mapping products created under the National Flood Insurance Program, including your community’s flood map,” according to the agency.

To use this center, go to the FEMA website and enter a specific address. When you do, you will find out if the property is in a zone with elevated flood risk.

2. Extreme temperatures

Heat wave
Eli Mordechai / Shutterstock.com

Share of all prospective homebuyers who consider this climate risk: 37%

Age group most likely to consider this climate risk: millennials (ages 29-43)

Extreme temperatures have become a growing concern for millions of Americans. We recently highlighted a few places that saw such extremes in “6 American Cities That Saw Record-Setting Heat This Summer.”

3. Wildfires

Wildfire in Alaska
Alaskagirl8821 / Shutterstock.com

Share of all prospective homebuyers who consider this climate risk: 37%

Age group most likely to consider this climate risk: Generation Z (ages 18-28)

Recent deadly blazes in Hawaii and other places have kept the danger of wildfires in the headlines. Members of Gen Z fear wildfires more than any other climate risk.

4. Hurricanes

Hurricane Irma hits Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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Share of all prospective homebuyers who consider this climate risk: 33%

Age group most likely to consider this climate risk: millennials (ages 29-43)

Millions of people are flocking to Florida and Texas, two states at high risk of hurricane activity.

If you are heading to the Sunshine State, check out the state disaster authorities’ Know Your Zone webpage. There, you can enter a specific Florida address and see whether it’s in a hurricane evacuation zone and, if so, which type.

5. Drought

Drought conditions
alvarobueno / Shutterstock.com

Share of all prospective homebuyers who consider this climate risk: 31%

Age group most likely to consider this climate risk: millennials (ages 29-43)

Drought has been a threat to civilizations throughout history, and that is also true in this era of climate change. Water is basic to life, and those shopping for homes want to be sure they have access to it.

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