Homes listed on Realtor.com will now include property-specific wildfire risk information, making the News Corporation-owned listings portal the first to do so, the company announced on Monday,
Listings will include a free fire factor rating from the nonprofit research group First Street Foundation and information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Fire Service, Realtor.com said in a news release.
The website already includes flood risk information on its listings, as an increasing amount of homes are susceptible to damage from rising sea levels. That feature is now the second-most clicked datapoint on its listings, Realtor.com said, behind data on K-12 schools, Sara Brinton, lead product manager at Realtor.com told CNBC.
“Realtor.com was the first real estate site to display flood risk data on home listings and maps, which consumers have found to be extremely helpful in the buying process. As the likelihood of natural disasters like wildfire and flood increase, we want to provide as much information as possible for families to make informed decisions about where to live and how to protect their homes,” Brinton said in a statement. “By integrating wildfire risk data directly into maps and property listings, we can help homebuyers feel confident when making one of the biggest purchases of their lives.”
With the western United States entering wildfire season, an estimated one in five single-family homes in the nation are at risk for wildfire damage over the next 30 years. The risk is becoming an increasingly important factor homebuyers consider when shopping, as 71 percent of recent homebuyers took natural disasters into account when considering where to move, while 47 percent are more concerned about natural disasters than they were a year ago, according to survey data from Realtor.com.
Wildfire risk has increased exponentially in the past few years due to climate change, according to a new report, Spreading like Wildfire: The Rising Threat of Extraordinary Landscape Fires, by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and GRID-Arendal. And the extent of its damage is growing.
Of the wildfire damage tracked by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration since 1980, 66 percent of that damage has occurred in the last five years.
This week, First Street Foundation released a report detailing wildfire risk throughout the entire country. It found that some areas not typically considered at risk for wildfire damage had seen their risk increase over 200 percent, including parts of New Jersey, Massachusetts, Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Arkansas. At least 10 million properties rank between “major” and “extreme” wildfire risk, according to First Street.
The beginnings of wildfire season have already proved destructive, with wildfires currently raging in New Mexico and the Laguna Niguel fire in Orange County signaling the beginning of fire season in California.