Vehicles make their way through a flooded area after Hurricane Ian passed through the area on September 29, 2022 in Fort Myers, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Over four-fifths of home shoppers take climate risks into consideration, Zillow found.
This was most pronounced among younger buyers, and varied per region.
But affordability is still the top determining factor, with many buyers moving to at-risk regions.
More than four-fifths of house hunters are taking climate-related risks into consideration when looking for a home, according to a new Zillow survey.
Those risks include flooding, wildfires, extreme temperatures, hurricanes and drought, and 83% of prospective buyers considered at least one of them when house shopping
“Floods, fires and extreme weather are reshaping how people view climate risk and real estate,” the company said.
The findings were most pronounced among younger generations, with 84% and 86% of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers considering a climate risk. That’s compared to 82% of Gen X and 70% of boomers.
“While all generations juggle trade-offs like budget, floor plans and commute times, younger home shoppers are more likely to face another consideration: They want to know if their home will be safe from rising waters, extreme temperatures and wildfires,” Zillow’s senior population scientist Manny Garcia said in the report.
Buyer location also factored in, given the varying exposure to climate risks in each region of the US. Though the West saw the largest amount of shopper sensitivity to the climate, one-third of Midwestern and Southern shoppers accounted for these risks.
But while such considerations are a growing part of the homebuying attitude, affordability still stands as the leading priority. That’s as higher interest rates and a lack of housing inventory have kept mortgage rates and home prices high.
For first-time buyers, who comprise 50% of the market, this often means accepting whatever’s affordable, even moving to regions more exposed to climate risks, such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona.
In fact, populations in at-risk regions are growing more quickly than in those less exposed to climate dangers. That’s largely given the fact that these states have more ample inventory and high levels of construction.
For now, even those who cited climate-risk considerations aren’t rushing to safer areas.
According to Zillow, just under half would migrate to an area with the same level of climate risks as their current residence, while 27% would move somewhere with more risk and 23% would consider moving to a place with less exposure.
But while homebuyers may find better affordability in at-risk regions, they may be faced with higher costs for things such as insurance. In some regions, policies insuring against elevated climate risks have grown so expensive that homeowners have left the market.