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See how badly your home could be hit by heat, wind, and bad air over the next 30 years

See how badly your home could be hit by heat, wind, and bad air over the next 30 years
  • New tools from Realtor.com allow users to view a home's vulnerability to heat, wind, and air quality.

  • The tools let homeowners and buyers view risks today and projected impacts over the next 30 years.

  • Climate risk leads to higher insurance costs in disaster-prone states like California and Florida.

The impact of the climate crisis looks different for every homeowner.

Realtor.com has unveiled a set of climate risk tools that homeowners and homebuyers alike can use to learn the specific climate risks of a property. The tools, called Heat Factor, Wind Factor, and Air Factor, are available starting Wednesday and can map out a neighborhood's risks of above-normal days on the heat index, chances of experiencing wind gusts over 50 mph, and days of poor air quality.

The tools also show the projected increase in these events over the next 30 years. More than 40% of US homes, valued at a combined $20 trillion, are vulnerable to extreme heat, wind, and poor air quality, according to a Realtor.com analysis.

The new tools come as climate-fueled disasters intensify and more people move into disaster-prone parts of the country including Florida, California, and Texas.

Homeowners in Miami hold the highest value of homes at risk for severe or extreme heat ($1.26 trillion), while San Francisco homeowners hold the highest value of homes at risk for severe air quality ($1.28 trillion), according to Realtor.com.

The trends are scrambling insurance companies, which one executive told Business Insider can no longer rely on the old models they once used to predict the chances and severity of extreme weather events.

"Everything has been a surprise. They're in panic mode," insurance executive Oscar Seikaly said last year.

Some insurance companies have pulled out of California and Florida over concerns about increasingly volatile wildfires and hurricanes, respectively. In some California towns, homeowners can no longer find property insurance, while the Florida condo market has ground to a halt over rising insurance costs. Some homeowners have given up searching for insurance entirely.

"It's like being on the Titanic," Bob Stephens, who couldn't find insurance for his $3 million Florida home, said last year. "You know you're going down. How are you going to stop it?"

Understanding your home's climate risk

Prior to releasing the heat, wind, and air quality tools, Realtor.com already provided fire and flood risks for properties based on data from First Street. First Street, a climate-risk firm, is also behind the data on extreme heat, wind, and air quality now added to listings.

The firm's air-quality data includes two common pollutants: particulate matter, often caused by wildfire smoke, and ozone, which is the result of reactions between other pollutants from chemical plants, tailpipes, and power plants.

The new risk scores will help homebuyers make an informed decision about whether to go through with a purchase, Realtor.com Chief Economist Danielle Hale told BI.

Hale added that the company has studied whether property-level climate risk data shifts homebuying decisions. The answer is complicated because people consider many different factors before buying a home. How recently a flood or fire happened in the area tends to have an impact.

But affordability often trumps climate-risk calculations, she said.

"It is often the case that homes in areas with the greatest risk of fire also tend to be the cheapest on a per-square-foot basis," Hale said, pointing to parts of California where catastrophic wildfires are increasing.

Surveys show that affordability remains the top priority even as homebuyers increasingly consider climate and environmental hazards. Zillow found that 36% of millennials and 19% of Gen Z homebuyers they surveyed were considering moving to areas with climate risks.

Meanwhile, an analysis by Redfin found that about 1.2 million more homeowners and renters moved out of than into cities with high risk of poor air quality between 2021 and 2022. But more space, proximity to family, and getting a better deal on a home were the most common reasons home sellers cited for moving — not air quality. Many of the movers headed to Sun Belt states where heat, flooding, and hurricanes are more likely.

"I do think it's important for people to realize just how much property is at risk, especially when we've been building a lot of homes in the South and in the West that are most likely to face extreme heat risk," Hale said.

Read the original article on Business Insider