Homebuyers considering a purchase in some areas of the country may want to add environmental risks to their long list of financial considerations, as more than a third of homes in the United States are at risk for manmade environmental hazards, spoiling air quality as well as home prices, according to RealtyTrac’s second annual Manmade Environmental Hazards Housing Risk Report.

The report, released today, offers data on home price and appreciation trends in almost 8,000 ZIP codes. According to the report, 25 million homes are located in ZIP codes that are at high risk for manmade environmental hazards such as air quality, superfund sites, polluters, brownfields and former drug labs.

The median sales price of homes in high-risk ZIP codes for manmade environmental hazards was $251,106 in 2015 on average, 15 percent lower than the median sales price of $295,202 for homes in ZIP codes with low or very low risk, RealtyTrac said. Median home prices in high-risk and very high-risk ZIP codes were still 1.8 percent lower than they were 10 years ago on average, even while median home prices in low-risk ZIP and very low-risk ZIP codes were up 5.3 percent from 10 years ago.

“Buying a home in an area with low risk of manmade environmental hazards may not just be a good idea for health and safety reasons; it may also be good for financial reasons,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac.

RealtyTrac’s report also included the “dirty dozen” markets with the highest percentage of ZIP codes at high risk for manmade environmental hazards:

  • Riverside-San Bernardino, California
  • Akron, Ohio
  • Cleveland, Ohio
  • Stockton, California
  • Louisville, Kentucky
  • Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Toledo, Ohio
  • El Paso, Texas
  • Los Angeles
  • Kansas City
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Bakersfield, California

Michael Mahon, president of HER Realtors, which covers the Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus markets in Ohio, said his market has been hit hard by drug labs.

“The lingering effects of drug particles in a home where drugs have been stored or made can have devastating effects on the health of the next occupants of the property,” Mahon said. “With a record number of drug overdose deaths across Ohio this year, there has been an increase in enforcement to determine where the drugs are stored and made.”

Mahon noted that because public record history details may not have the most recent information on drug use on a property, consumers should insist that their property inspections include an air-quality check.

“Many Realtors maintain a list of certified inspectors that offer such services to provide the added benefits of environmental inspections to insure the health, safety and welfare of consumers in their home,” Mahon added.

The report also identified 12 metro areas with no ZIP codes at high risk for manmade environmental hazards:

  • Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida
  • Charleston, South Carolina
  • Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Naples, Florida
  • Palm Bay, Florida
  • Port St. Lucie, Florida
  • Provo-Orem, Utah
  • Salinas, California
  • Santa Rosa, California
  • Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Inman Connect is LIVE tomorrow! Join us and thousands of your peers from wherever you are.Register Today×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription