Nearly half of consumers concerned about weather-related risks to homes

But concerns remain less critical than those relating to other costs

Nearly half of respondents to a recent survey performed by Fannie Mae are concerned about the impact of weather-related events on their homes, the government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) reported on its blog.

According to its Q3 2023 National Housing Survey, 46% of consumers say they are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about the impact of at least one of five potential disasters — strong winds, extreme heat, drought, floods, and wildfire — on their homes. Sixty-five percent have personally experienced weather-related damage, either firsthand or secondhand.

Not surprisingly, weather-related concerns are largely geographically based. Of all individuals surveyed, just 12% said they were either “extremely” or “somewhat” concerned about wildfires, least of the five weather risks included in the study. But that figure nearly doubles to 22% when narrowed to respondents in the West, where wildfires have been prevalent in the last few years.

Consumers within the South have the highest amount of concern regarding the possible impact of extreme weather on their homes. Fifty-five percent of homeowners in the region said they were either “extremely concerned” or “very concerned” about weather-related damage, most among Census regions. In Florida, where hurricanes are common, more than 60% expressed concerns about weather-related events. The West was second among regions, with 43% concerned about weather risks, though nearly a third were only “somewhat” concerned.

Eliciting the most concern throughout the general population of the survey were events relating to strong winds, such as from tornadoes and hurricanes. Twenty-four percent of all respondents in Fannie’s survey expressed some level of concern regarding damage to their properties from such weather risks. Extreme heat was next at 23%, followed by floods at 15% and drought at 13%, with wildfires bringing up the rear at the aforementioned 12%.

Roughly two-thirds (67%) of homeowners with home insurance said that weather-related damage has had at least some effect on their premiums, with one in four indicating a “large” impact on their payments. Two-thirds of homeowners indicated that they’ve taken precautions to minimize the risk of future damage.

Notably, while many homeowners have expressed trepidations about weather risks, worries about the related expenses remain less critical than concerns relating to other costs. For example, 70% of homeowners ranked the costs of maintenance (either routine or unexpected) among the top three “most stressful” aspect of owning a home. Sixty-four percent ranked property tax increases among their top three, while 60% did so with concerns over inflation and/or an economic downturn. In comparison, just 46% ranked extreme weather-related expenses among their top three.


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