SEATTLE, Feb. 25, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- (NASDAQ: RDFN) — A majority of homebuyers and sellers are concerned about climate change, according to a new report from Redfin (www.redfin.com), the technology-powered real estate brokerage.
Almost three-quarters of respondents (73%) said that an increase in the frequency or intensity of natural disasters at least somewhat factors into their decision about whether and where to buy or sell a home. Only 10% said it doesn't impact their decision-making process at all.
Climate Change Concerns by Location Of the 29 U.S. and Canadian destinations Redfin surveyed for this report, Houston's residents were the most likely to be concerned about climate change. Almost 60% of the area's respondents—more than any other city—said that an increase in the frequency or intensity of natural disasters "very much" factors into their decision to buy or sell a home. In second place was New York City (47%), followed by Miami (46%).
Houston has experienced catastrophic flooding in recent years. Instead of completely demolishing homes in flood-prone areas, some developers have been renovating and lifting them several feet off the ground so they're more resilient, said local Redfin agent Ashley Vasquez.
"When I meet buyers, one of the first things they tell me is that they don't want to be in a location that floods," she said. "Still, I haven't seen climate change decrease home values. Houston is actually becoming a more expensive city to live in as people migrate here for job opportunities and relative affordability."
While homebuyers and sellers are clearly aware of the risks posed by global warming, it hasn't yet translated into major changes in buying habits or prices, according to Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather.
"Climate change is important to house hunters, but when it actually comes time to decide where to buy a home, it's outweighed by other factors that feel more immediate, like affordability and access to jobs," Fairweather said. "Environmental changes may be factoring into their thought processes, but not yet into their actions."
The results also differed by region. Only 23% of respondents in the Midwest said that natural disasters seriously impact their real estate decisions, the lowest share of any geographic area. That compares with about 35% of people in both the Northeast and the South.
Climate Change Concerns by Race Concerns about climate change were most pronounced among minority homebuyers and sellers, with nearly half of Black respondents—the largest share of any group—saying natural disasters "very much" factor into their real estate decisions. That compares with only 32% of white respondents.
Research has shown that minority groups are disproportionately exposed to the adverse impacts of climate change. One 2018 report found that census tracts that were primarily Black, Hispanic or Native American were 50% more vulnerable to wildfires compared to other areas. Black Americans are also disproportionately exposed to toxic oil and gas emissions, according to the NAACP.
Climate Change Concerns by Income Concerns about climate change were most prominent among more affluent respondents. Participants making more than $200,000 per year were the most likely to be very concerned (42%) about climate change when buying or selling a home, while those making less than $100,000 were the most likely to be not at all concerned (9%).
"Natural disasters impact different demographics and income groups in different ways," Fairweather said. "On the one hand, you have more affordable homes in areas that have been continuously hit by natural disasters, and then you have more expensive areas, such as beachfront properties, that also have to grapple with climate change."
Climate Change Concerns by Age Residents in the under 25 age group were most likely to be very concerned (42%) with natural disasters, while those 65 and older were the most likely to be not at all concerned (16%).
"Younger people are more likely to still own their homes when the impacts of climate change become more severe," Fairweather said. "With each generation of homebuyers, it's going to become an increasingly important issue."
About Redfin Redfin (www.redfin.com) is a technology-powered real estate brokerage, combining its own full-service agents with modern technology to redefine real estate in the consumer's favor. Founded by software engineers, Redfin has the country's #1 brokerage website and offers a host of online tools to consumers, including the Redfin Estimate, the automated home-value estimate with the industry's lowest published error rate for listed homes. Homebuyers and sellers enjoy a full-service, technology-powered experience from Redfin real estate agents, while saving thousands in commissions. Redfin serves more than 90 major metro areas across the U.S. and Canada. The company has helped customers buy or sell homes worth more than $115 billion.
For more information or to contact a local Redfin real estate agent, visit www.redfin.com. To learn about housing market trends and download data, visit the Redfin Data Center. To be added to Redfin's press release distribution list, email [email protected]. To view Redfin's press center, click here.