Survey: 63% Fear Climate Change Will Affect Their Area

House perched precariously on iceberg

© Malte Mueller - Getty Images

Recent flooding, wildfire, and tornado events have many Americans fearing natural disasters and weather-related events. Sixty-three percent of people who have moved since the pandemic began to say they believe climate change is—or will be—an issue in the place they currently live. Many buyers say they researched climate issues before moving too, according to a new study of about 1,000 U.S. residents who have moved since March 2020, conducted by the real estate brokerage Redfin.

Fifty-four percent of Americans fear that they would not be able to afford the expenses incurred during a natural disaster, according to a separate survey conducted this fall of nearly 2,200 Americans from ValuePenguin, a financial information resource. More than one quarter—26%—question whether they would financially recover from one.

As such, homeowners are concerned that climate change could influence their housing preferences, like increasing flood insurance rates for at-risk properties. A separate survey earlier this year conducted by Redfin found that respondents between the ages of 35 to 44 were the most likely to say natural disasters, extreme temperatures, and rising sea levels all play a role in their decisions about where to move. Survey respondents 45 or older were the least likely to indicate those factors played a factor in their relocation decisions.

“The pandemic and remote work allowed many people to rethink where they live, and climate is top of mind for movers,” says Daryl Fairweather, Redfin’s chief economist. “As natural disasters have become more frequent, people are realizing climate change isn’t just an abstract problem, it is a problem right on their doorstep depending on where they live. But climate change isn’t the only factor for people deciding where to live. Affordability will always be the biggest constraint, and we need to build more affordable housing that is resilient to climate change or is located in areas naturally resilient to climate change.”

A bar chart showing survey results on whether movers agree climate change is an issue where they live.