Natural disasters are becoming more common, and the threat they pose is a serious concern for the majority of homebuyers.

In July, realtor.com surveyed over 3,000 people and found that 78 percent of them factored in the risk of natural disasters when looking for a new home to purchase. 

Of the people who said yes, 47 percent of them said they were more worried about a natural disaster now than they were five years ago.

The worry is warranted. Over the last few years, natural disasters have left homes in shambles across the country. Last October, realtor.com reported that roughly $9.4 billion worth of residential real estate was at risk in California as wildfires ripped through the parts of the state.

It’s not just California. Earlier today, Inman reported that per CoreLogic, the typical home in Wyoming is nearly three times more likely to be burned by a wildfire than the typical home in California. Other states where homes are at a greater risk of burning include Idaho, Utah, Nevada and New Mexico.

Though the finds are slightly skewed due to California having more homes than the other five states mentioned, the growing risk of wildfire damage is alarming. 

“Wildfire patterns that used to ebb and flow are now a more continual fire threat,” the CoreLogic’s report reads. “Long-duration dry conditions, which often result in record-setting droughts, contribute to the increasing number and intensity of fires in recent years, as seen in 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2020.”

In addition to wildfires, realtor.com’s respondents expressed concerns about tornados, severe cold or winter storms, flooding, hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts and sinkholes. 

“It’s really good to see homeowners wanting to know more about the risks of their homes. The risk is invisible,” Tom Larsen, a principal of industry solutions at real estate data firm CoreLogic, was quoted in the realtor.com report. When you purchase your home in a pretty neighborhood you may not be aware of the catastrophic dangers. “Everything has some risk. There is no risk-free home.”

Living in high-risk areas isn’t just becoming a bigger concern, it’s also becoming more expensive. 

On Oct. 1, The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is raising flood insurance premiums for some homeowners.

Per an analysis done by QuoteWizard, 77 percent of policyholders will see a price increase while just 23 percent will see a price decrease.  

As Inman reported earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association forecasts that in the coming years, there will be an increase in homeowners defaulting on their mortgages because damages caused by natural disasters will exceed what insurance will cover.

Email Libertina Brandt

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