Almost third of US houses are at excessive danger of pure catastrophe: Research

Nearly third of US homes are at high risk of natural disaster: Study

Herman Termeer (cq) watches the bushfire at Chino Hills State Park from the roof of his home on Tuesday October 27, 2020 in Chino Hills, CA.

Myung J. Chun | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

According to a new study by CoreLogic, around 35 million households, or nearly a third of the country’s housing stock, are at “high risk” for a natural disaster.

The researchers at the real estate data company looked at the combined severity and frequency of damage caused by natural disasters and created a composite risk assessment. This score represents the average annual loss for seven individual hazards for approximately 105 million residential structures across the country: earthquakes; Forest fires; Inland floods; severe convective storms; Winter storms; Hurricanes; and tropical storm surges and wind.

“CoreLogic data shows that almost every property in the US is at risk. The unexpected nature of these events should encourage companies to better prepare for potential risk,” said Frank Nothaft, chief economist at CoreLogic. “The effect of a catastrophic event such as the last seen from the pandemic can lead to a shaky economy with high unemployment and mortgage crime.”

This type of data is becoming more and more relevant as America grapples with climate issues. CoreLogic released its findings on Wednesday, the day President Joe Biden will make ambitious new efforts to combat climate change. His plan includes addressing communities that are disproportionately affected by climate change, as well as sustainable infrastructure.

2020 saw a record number of hurricanes land in the US, as well as the most active wildfire season in the country’s history.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 22 weather- or climate-related disasters caused damage of at least $ 1 billion each in the past year. The combined 22 events cost the nation $ 95 billion in damages. And the risk to American real estate is only increasing.

Unsurprisingly, the highest risk properties are in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, along the Mississippi, and in areas that span much of the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

2020 was the warmest year on record, according to NASA, and temperatures are expected to continue to rise if more is done to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

A woman crossed a flooded street in 2015.

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

“The past seven years have been the warmest in seven, reflecting the ongoing and dramatic warming trend,” said Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “Whether a year is a record or not doesn’t really matter that much – the most important things are long-term trends. With these trends and the increasing human impact on the climate, we must expect records to continue to be broken.”

Higher temperatures mean that hurricanes increase faster, droughts last longer, and rainstorms produce more water.

All of this only increases the risk to real estate. Measuring this risk has become a home industry with new companies offering all facets of risk assessment and old companies developing new models. This data is bought by real estate developers, insurers, and mortgage lenders, to name a few.

“How insurers and lenders understand that risk from new technology can enable them to better protect homeowners and result in faster recovery times,” said Howard Botts, chief scientist at CoreLogic.