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A new feature from Redfin allows home shoppers to view air quality risk data for individual properties.
Through a partnership with the climate risk data provider First Street, Redfin will provide air quality risk data for every listing on its app and website, alongside the data for wildfire, flood, wind and extreme heat it already provides, the company announced on Monday.
“Redfin wants to ensure that every single person searching for a home has the information they need to understand climate risks,” said Redfin Senior Vice President of Product and Design Ariel Dos Santos. “Air pollution is an important consideration as poor air quality becomes more frequent due to climate threats such as wildfire smoke.”
The new feature comes as the number of poor air quality days in the western United States has surged by approximately 477 percent between 2000 and 2021, largely because of wildfire smoke as climate change has intensified the threat posed by wildfire. The eastern United States has begun to feel the effects of wildfires as well, with smoke from Canadian wildfires reaching the East Coast this past summer at unprecedented levels.
A report published by Redfin this week found that about 1 million more people moved out of than into American cities with a high risk of poor air quality in 2021 and 2022, while cities with low risk saw 1 million more people move in than out. Their main reason for leaving wasn’t air quality, though — it was the higher cost of living in high-risk cities.
Areas with the highest risk of poor air quality are concentrated in the West, often in expensive states like California. The median home sale price for areas with high risk for poor air quality was $563,710 as of December 2023, according to Redfin — 65 percent higher than the median sale price of $341,483 in low-risk cities.
As climate change intensifies, we’ll likely see this shift, with more homebuyers considering environmental risk when purchasing a home, Redfin economists predicted.
“Deciding where to live is all about prioritization. With housing costs hovering near their record high, the top priority for many homebuyers is getting a good deal,” said Redfin Chief Economist Daryl Fairweather. “Even when homebuyers do consider climate change, poor air quality often isn’t top of mind because it’s not as visibly destructive as hazards like flooding and fires. But as the dangers of climate change intensify, we will likely see more people factor air quality and other disaster risks into their decisions about where to settle down.”