the latest portal to include climate risk data ClimateData

The climate’s toddler-like, harder-than-ever-to-predict behavior is having a measurable impact on the housing market, a reality that led to partnering with First Street, a non-profit organization that provides data and critical resources on climate change.

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Homeowners in hurricane-prone states notched along the Sunbelt and those under constant threat of wildfire throughout California are having home insurance policies canceled with little notice. New buyers need to plan for delays in finding a home based on which carriers are willing to take the risk.

In summary, the climate’s toddler-like, harder-than-ever-to-predict behavior is having a measurable impact on the housing market, a reality that led to partnering with First Street, a non-profit organization that provides data and critical resources on climate change and weather-related disasters. The property portal is using the foundation to deliver insights on temperature, wind events and air quality to aspiring homebuyers and real estate agents, Inman has learned. will deploy the data in three content modules: Fire Factor, Wind Factor and Air Factor, according to a March 13 press release. Each component will apply rankings to the number of days a property experiences extreme instances of each.

“Users can toggle between factors to see how a particular risk may affect the home’s area in the present and over time, showing current exposure to risks and the expected change for each risk in 15 years and in 30 years, the length of a typical mortgage,” the release stated.

First Street’s mission is clear — “To connect climate risk to financial risk,” according to its website. The group assists the insurance, financial and real estate verticals in linking the two, offering an array of analyses to ensure big business fully understands how the natural world impacts their bottom line as well as the health of the people they serve. In other words, just about everyone.

Other groups have emerged in recent years to fill this essential need as well, such as AreaHub and ClimateCheck. TopHap, a real estate data provider, provides users with risk visualizations through map-based environmental research. Redfin also uses First Street’s services.

Inman reported last year on a study that found America’s real estate market may be overvalued by $187 billion because of the un-calculated risk of flooding alone.

Unrecognized flood risks driven by climate change mean U.S. homes may be overvalued by $187 billion — a “climate housing bubble” more than double the size of a previous estimate, according to a study published last year in Nature Climate Change.

The peer-reviewed study, which was led by economists at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), identified some surprising regions — such as Appalachia and northern New England — as overvaluation hotspots.

The study laid much of the blame for the tendency to underestimate the risks posed by climate change on outdated flood insurance rate maps and inconsistent state-level flood risk disclosure laws.

Florida-based United Property Casualty and Insurance Co. withdrew home insurance business from its home state, along with several other states, ahead of hurricane season and amid a withdrawal of several other insurers from the Sunshine State, the company announced in August of 2022.

More than 15 major carriers had left the state as of November 2023, Farmers being the most recent significant example. The Orlando Sentinel reported that about 100,000 policyholders in Florida would have to find new insurance providers.

The same is happening in California. State Farm decided in 2023 to leave the Golden State.

“We take seriously our responsibility to manage risk,” a company statement read. “We recognize the Governor’s administration, legislators, and the California Department of Insurance (CDI) for their wildfire loss mitigation efforts.”

“Many of our communities in rural, forested areas of California are experiencing not only increasing wildfire and increasing wildfire severity but also increasing insurance problems,” University of California natural resources adviser Ryan Tompkins told The Washington Post in May 2023. “They’re getting dropped. They’re getting non-renewed. We’re seeing a sort of insidious, quiet impact economically.”

Los Angeles news station KTLA reported in November last year that more plan to leave and that in early 2024, Merastar Insurance Co., Unitrin Auto and Home Insurance Co., and Unitrin Direct Property and Casualty Co. will cease underwriting homes, as will Kemper Independence Insurance Co. as part of a larger, company-wide decision. Allstate has also left California. said in the release that 40 percent of U.S. homes, totaling just under $20 trillion in total value, are at risk of valuation declines because of increasing heat risk, wind damage and increasingly harmful air quality.

Homebuyers have turned to the internet to find properties — often before they seek out an agent. The more data they can absorb about a market and its listings the more informed they can be when it’s time to physically tour available homes. Clearly, the ability to have a home remain insured and intact for their period of homeownership is part of that.

Email Craig C. Rowe

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