Though the climate crisis has loomed large over our lives for many years, the daily effects of environmental destruction are coming into focus. The realities of the climate crisis can't be ignored or swept under the rug, with rising temperatures impacting our lifestyles and wellbeing at an increasing rate, in ways both big and small.
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One of the most significant ways global warming is affecting our daily lives is by dictating where it's safe to live. The real estate research professionals over at Home Bay just released a comprehensive study of the riskiest and safest places to buy a home in 2022, taking a deep dive into the dangers climate change poses to the U.S. real estate market. Their findings reveal that many of the most in-demand metro areas for buyers are in places that are the most threatened by natural disasters related to climate change.
For example, Home Bay found that while California, Oregon, and Washington are the three states that have had the most Federal Emergency Management Agency-declared disasters since 2012, the metro areas in those states have seen property costs outpace the U.S. median home price. The cost of homes in these areas have increased by an average of 167% as compared to the 113% increase across the U.S.
As for the states with the lowest overall Expected Annual Loss (EAL) scores, they are mostly in the Northeast, with Rhode Island having the lowest score. The state is followed by Vermont, Delaware, and New Hampshire.
Interestingly, the metro areas in areas that pose less risk have seen less than a 50% increase in the median home price since 2012. These locations include Hartford, Connecticut; Baltimore, Maryland; Virginia Beach, Virginia; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In other words, this study shows that Americans are gravitating toward homes in states that are more affected by climate change.
California is a particularly perilous place to put down roots. Since 2012, it's seen 146 FEMA-declared weather and environmental disasters, which is 564% higher than the state average of 22. And in 2021, 31% of all U.S. land impacted by fires was in California. Further, to help quantify the risk of natural hazards on states, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assigns each state a score from 0 to 100 that reflects its EAL.
California's EAL score is as high as it gets, coming in at 100. Texas is second on the list at 86, followed by Florida at 57.3, then Louisiana at 48.1, and North Carolina at 46.1.
As alarming as Home Bay's report is, it's critical that we face the realities of the state of our planet so that we can work toward protecting it while we still can.