Over 80% of homebuyers factor extreme weather, climate risk into decision, survey finds

The vast majority of prospective homebuyers, 83%, consider climate related risks when looking for a new home, a recent survey released by Zillow found. But, only 23% of those questioned said they were looking to move to a safer area.

In a series of five separate surveys, analysts asked almost 12,000 people who intended to buy a home in the next 12 months if climate risks would impact their decisions. Results were variable based on age of the buyer and region of the U.S. they lived in.

Almost half said that they were looking in areas with similar climate risks. Only 23% said they would move to minimize climate risks. And over a quarter said they were considering buying in an area with more risk.


Regions in the US factor heavily

"We're seeing the highest rates of prospective buyers reporting that climate risks impacted where they shop for a home in the western United States, especially on the West Coast, think basically Washington to California." Manny Garcia, Zillow Senior Population Scientist told FOX Weather. "Then also, to a similar extent, in the Northeast."

"A majority, pretty much 77% in the Midwest and 79% in the South, so still a really large share, also said that at least one climate risk impacted where they shop," he continued.

But about a third of the shoppers from the Midwest and South said they wouldn't consider climate risk when shopping/moving.


Younger shoppers are more wary of risk

Younger buyers were also more sensitive to the risk. 

"Across generations, we see that majorities of prospective buyers are considering climate risk. It is higher for those Gen Z and especially for millennial prospective buyers," Garcia said. "So we see that 86% of prospective buyers in their thirties reported considering at least one climate risk versus only 69% of those in their sixties and older." 

Flood topped the concerns of the 59+ buyers. Gen Z and Gen X found wildfires most concerning. Millenials identified extreme temperatures as a major consideration.

Hurricanes and drought were at the bottom of the concern list.

The median age of a homebuyer is 39. Millennial and Gen Z buyers make up 54% of all home buyers. And first-time buyers make up half of all buyers.


Climate risk is not the number one factor

But climate risk is not the first and foremost deciding factor, that is price.

"We know that 84% of successful buyers say that their highly important criteria for a home was staying in budget. The only other home characteristic to come close was air conditioning," Garcia said. "Everything else, like bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, floor plans trail that highly important staying within budget.," 

He also pointed out that the areas with the highest levels of climate consideration were also those with the highest home prices, the West Coast and the Northeast. The most affordable sale markets are in the Rust Belt and the Midwest.

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