hurricanes are currently brewing in the Pacific and Atlantic.
Wildfires have ravaged more
than 8 million acres in
the U.S. in 2015 alone. And in just the first two weeks of May this
touched down in the U.S.
American homeowners might still be surprised at the risk their home
faces of getting hit by a natural disaster in the near future. A
report released on Thursday by real estate research
that 43% of U.S. homes and condos — that’s a total of 35.8
million homes — are at a high risk or very high risk of at least
one type of natural disaster. The report examined 2,318 counties
nationwide and assigned each a score of natural disaster risk score
from 0 to 300 based on their risk of wildfire, hurricane, flood,
tornado and earthquake; the higher the score the higher the risk of
Map key: Counties in green are very low risk, yellow are low risk, orange are moderate risk, pink are high risk and red are very high risk
it seems like we’re getting hit by more natural disasters these
days, it’s not your imagination: A study published in the New
England Journal of Medicine found that there were three times as many
natural disasters from 2000 through 2009 as there were from 1980
through 1989, of which nearly 80% were due to climate-related issues.
“during recent decades, the scale of disasters has expanded owing
to increased rates of urbanization, deforestation, and environmental
degradation and to intensifying climate variables such as higher
temperatures, extreme precipitation, and more violent wind and water
storms,” the study authors note.
impacts of this trend are devastating people’s lives — and their
homes: “Since 2008, an average of 26.4 million people per year have
been displaced from their homes by disasters brought on by natural
hazards,” a report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring
Centre, an independent, non-governmental humanitarian organization
studying displacement, reveals. “This is the equivalent to one
person being displaced every second.”
unlikely to change anytime soon. The report notes that “the trend
over decades is on the rise,” meaning that more people are
displaced from their homes now than in previous decades. By one
estimate, twice as many people are displaced from their homes because
of natural disasters than were in the 1970s.
states with the most homes in high or very high risk-counties,
according to the latest RealtyTrac report, include California (8.4
million homes at high risk), Florida (6.7 million), New York (2.4
million), New Jersey (2.3 million) and North Carolina (2.3 million).
The cities with the most homes in high risk counties are not
surprisingly (due to their large number of homes): New York (3.5
million homes at high risk), Los Angeles (2.5 million), Miami (1.9
million), Houston (1.2 million), and Riverside-San Bernardino in
Southern California (1.1 million).
a home in a high-risk natural disaster area is, of course, risky in
that your home may be more likely to get damaged or destroyed than
one in a low-risk area. It may also be a bad financial move even if
you’re heavily insured: “In lower risk natural disaster markets,
home price appreciation is steadier and larger over the last 10
years,” says Daren Blomquist, the vice president of RealtyTrac.
sales prices in counties with a low risk and very low risk for
natural disasters increased an average of 6.6% and 9.5%,
respectively, between 2005 and 2015. Meanwhile, home sales prices in
counties with a high risk and very high risk for natural disasters
decreased 2.5% and 6.4%, on average, over that period.
home values in high risk areas tend to be higher than in low risk
areas, and over the last three years, home price appreciation has
been stronger in higher risk counties than in lower ones. (Blomquist
thinks these markets may, in general, be more volatile than other
markets – which could explain their recent fast appreciation – as
they are often “more well-known, sexier markets,” which tend to
“attract more speculative buyers and investors who will jump on the
buying bandwagon when the market hits bottom.”) And of course, many
people have to live where their jobs are — disaster-risk area or
not — so they just need to make
sure they’re properly insured.