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August 25, 2021 at 10:15 AM EDT
More People Are Moving In Than Out of Areas Facing High Risk From Climate Change
Redfin analysis finds that the U.S. counties with the largest share of homes facing high heat, drought, fire, flood and storm risk saw their populations grow from 2016-2020

SEATTLE, Aug. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- (NASDAQ: RDFN) — America's disaster-prone areas are becoming more populous as new residents move in, according to a new report from Redfin (www.redfin.com), the technology-powered real estate brokerage. The U.S. counties with the largest share of homes facing high heat, drought, fire, flood and storm risk saw their populations grow from 2016-2020 due to migration, while the counties with the smallest share of homes facing climate risk largely saw their populations decline.

This is according to a Redfin analysis of data from climate-data startup ClimateCheck, county property records and the U.S. Census Bureau. The 50 U.S. counties with the largest share of homes facing high heat risk saw their populations increase by an average of 4.7% from 2016 through 2020 due to positive net migration. Meanwhile, the 50 counties with the largest percentage of homes facing high drought, fire, flood and storm risk experienced average population growth of 3.5%, 3%, 1.9% and 0.4%, respectively, due to positive net migration. 

"People have been gravitating to places with severe climate risk because many of these areas are relatively affordable, have lower property taxes, more housing options or access to nature," said Redfin Economist Sebastian Sandoval-Olascoaga. "For a lot of people, these benefits seem to outweigh the dangers of climate change. But as natural disasters become more frequent, homeowners in these areas may end up losing property value or face considerable difficulty getting their properties insured against environmental disasters."

Places with relatively low climate risk have experienced the opposite trend: population decline. The 50 counties with the lowest share of homes facing high heat risk saw their populations decrease by an average of 1.4% from 2016 through 2020 due to negative net migration. Meanwhile, the 50 counties with the smallest percentage of homes facing high drought, fire and flood risk experienced average migration-driven population declines of 1.1%, 1.2% and 1.1%, respectively. Bucking the trend were the 50 counties with the lowest share of homes facing high storm risk, which experienced 0.9% population growth.

Of the 50 counties with the largest share of properties facing high heat risk, 40 had median sale prices below the national level ($315,000) in 2020. Of the 50 counties with the largest share of properties facing high storm risk, 30 had median sale prices below the national level last year. Data on relative affordability in counties with high fire, drought and flood risk is unavailable due to insufficient sale-price data in many of the counties.

A February Redfin survey found that the increasing frequency or intensity of natural disasters was a consideration for almost half of respondents who planned to move in the next year. Redfin now publishes climate-risk data for every location page on its website to help house hunters make more informed decisions. 

To read the full report, including data on the top counties at risk of high heat, drought, fire, flood and storm, as well as additional charts and graphs, please visit: https://www.redfin.com/news/climate-migration-real-estate-2021/ 

About Redfin 
Redfin (www.redfin.com) is a technology-powered real estate company. We help people find a place to live with brokerage, instant home-buying (iBuying), rentals, lending, title insurance, and renovations services. We sell homes for more money and charge half the fee. We also run the country's #1 real-estate brokerage site. Our home-buying customers see homes first with on-demand tours, and our lending and title services help them close quickly. Customers selling a home can take an instant cash offer from Redfin or have our renovations crew fix up their home to sell for top dollar. Our rentals business empowers millions nationwide to find apartments and houses for rent. Since launching in 2006, we've saved customers more than $1 billion in commissions. We serve more than 100 markets across the U.S. and Canada and employ over 6,000 people.

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 press@redfin.com. To view Redfin's press center, click here.

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SOURCE Redfin

Redfin Journalist Services: Angela Cherry, 913-638-8249, press@redfin.com