Vast majority of home seekers — especially younger ones — are mindful of climate risks

But these factors aren’t causing a mass migration to less risky areas, Zillow finds

The young house hunters who are now driving the residential real estate market are increasingly mindful of climate risks as they shop, according to new research from Zillow.

Climate risks are a genuine concern for most home shoppers, with 83% of prospective buyers indicating that at least one climate-based risk has impacted their search efforts. For millennials and Generation Z, who make up 54% of all potential buyers, these shares rise slightly to 86% and 84%, respectively.

“Climate risks impact where most prospective buyers shop for a home,” said Manny Garcia, senior population scientist at Zillow. “While all generations juggle trade-offs like budget, floor plans and commute times, younger home shoppers are more likely to face another consideration: They want to know if their home will be safe from rising waters, extreme temperatures and wildfires.”

A vast majority of home shoppers across generations said they took at least one climate risk into account, including 82% of Gen Xers and 70% of baby boomers. Floods were the biggest climate-based factor on shoppers’ minds, with 41% of prospective buyers considering flood risks when looking for their next home. Extreme temperatures and wildfires were next at 37% each, followed by hurricanes at 33% and droughts at 31%.

Consideration of climate risks vary more by geography than by generation. In the West, which has been increasingly beset by wildfires in recent years, 90% of prospective buyers considered at least one climate risk. Additionally, 59% of buyers in the West region said that climate risks are “very or extremely impactful.”

Similar figures were seen in the Northeast, where 85% of shoppers considered at least one climate risk and 50% of buyers said climate risks are very or extremely impactful. Buyers in the South and Midwest, while still attentive to climate risk, were less affected: Seventy-seven percent of prospective Midwest buyers and 79% of prospective Southern buyers considered at least one climate risk. Moreover, only 42% of buyers in the Midwest and 43% in the South indicated that climate risks are very or extremely impactful.

Notably, while most prospective buyers kept climate risks in mind, these factors haven’t grown to the point where the majority would move to a less risky area. Nearly half (49%) plan to stay in areas that pose the same climate risks they already face in their current residence. In fact, a larger share are considering moving to an area with more climate risks (27%) than one fewer climate risks (23%).


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