Populations in high-risk climate areas grow: Redfin

Populations in high-risk climate areas grow: Redfin
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Populations in areas of the United States at high risk for climate disasters are growing, according to an analysis done by real estate listing service Redfin.

The analysis looked at the top 50 U.S. counties with the highest and lowest share of homes facing dangers from heat, drought, fire, flood and storms from 2016 to last year.

All areas facing high-risk climates saw a positive net migration, with populations growing despite climate concerns.

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The top 50 counties at high risk for extreme heat saw a 4.7 percent net migration increase, drought areas had a 3.5 percent increase, counties at risk of fire had a 3.0 percent increase, flood-prone areas saw a 1.9 percent increase and storm areas saw a 0.4 percent increase. 

The 50 counties at the lowest risk for high-risk weather all saw a negative net migration apart from those at lowest risk for storms.

Areas with the smallest share of homes facing high-risk heat saw a 1.4 percent net migration decrease, drought areas saw a 1.1 percent decrease, fire areas had a 1.2 percent decrease and flood areas had a 1.1 percent decrease.

The 50 counties at the lowest risk for storms saw a 0.9 percent increase in net migration.

Redfin compiled the data through a climate-data startup called Climate Check, the U.S. Census Bureau and county property records. The counties had to have more than 500 homes as of Aug. 2 of 2021 to be used in the analysis. 

“People have been gravitating to places with severe climate risk because many of these areas are relatively affordable, have lower property taxes, more housing options or access to nature,” Redfin economist Sebastian Sandoval-Olascoaga said. 

“For a lot of people, these benefits seem to outweigh the dangers of climate change. But as natural disasters become more frequent, homeowners in these areas may end up losing property value or face considerable difficulty getting their properties insured against environmental disasters," he added.