Climate change seriously considered in one-third of housing decisions

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Despite the increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters caused by climate change, just 33% of consumers said it's a major factor in determining when or where to buy or sell a home, according to Redfin.

Another 40% of those surveyed were somewhat concerned, 17% had very little concern and 10% had none at all.

"Climate change is important to house hunters, but when it actually comes time to decide where to buy a home, it's outweighed by other factors that feel more immediate, like affordability and access to jobs," Daryl Fairweather, Redfin chief economist, said in a press release. "Environmental changes may be factoring into their thought processes, but not yet into their actions."
Minorities and younger consumers were the most concerned about climate change, with 45% of black respondents labeling it a major concern and 43% of Hispanics calling it a serious consideration. Asians and whites trailed at 34% and 32%, respectively.

The share of respondents under 25 years old who were highly concerned about climate change was 42%. The 35- to 44-year-old bracket followed at 36%, with 35% of 25- to 34-year-olds coming next.

"Younger people are more likely to still own their homes when the impacts of climate change become more severe. With each generation of homebuyers, it's going to become an increasingly important issue. Natural disasters impact different demographics and income groups in different ways," Fairweather said. "On the one hand, you have more affordable homes in areas that have been continuously hit by natural disasters, and then you have more expensive areas, such as beachfront properties, that also have to grapple with climate change."

Of the 29 U.S and Canadian housing markets surveyed, Houston residents were the most concerned about climate change with 58% calling it a serious consideration in housing decisions. New York's 47% and Miami's 46% followed. All three areas have experienced flooding in recent years.

"When I meet buyers, one of the first things they tell me is that they don't want to be in a location that floods," said Houston Redfin agent Ashley Vasquez. "Still, I haven't seen climate change decrease home values. Houston is actually becoming a more expensive city to live in as people migrate here for job opportunities and relative affordability."

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