Home Sales Surge in Low Hazard Areas

August 29, 2016

Counties with the lowest levels of natural hazard risk saw home sales rise 4.2 percent in the first six months of the year. That's more than twice the 1.9 percent increase among counties with the highest level of natural hazard risk, according to the ATTOM Data Solutions 2016 U.S. Natural Hazard Housing Risk Index.

Researchers measured the hazard risk of more than 3,000 U.S. counties. Risks factored in included earthquakes, floods, hail, hurricane storm surge, tornadoes, and wildfires. They also analyzed home sales and price trends within the counties.

“While price and affordability along with access to jobs are the primary drivers in local markets with strong increases in home sales activity in 2016, it’s evident from this data that natural hazard risk does make a difference to home buyers and investors who are active in this housing market,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Even among the subset of counties where the median price is below the national median as well as among the subset of counties where home prices are still affordable for average wage earners, there is a consistent trend of stronger increases in home sales volume compared to a year ago in the lowest-risk markets for natural hazards compared to the highest-risk markets.”

ATTOM Data Solutions pinpointed the following counties overall as having the lowest natural hazard risk: Milwaukee County, Wis.; Kewaunee County, Wis. (Green Bay); Racine County, Wis. (Racine); Knox County, Maine; and Kenosha County, Wis. (Chicago metro area).

Among larger counties with at least 5,000 home sales in the first six months of this year, the places with the lowest risk were: Cuyahoga County, Ohio (Cleveland); Lake County, Ill. (Chicago area); Kent County, Mich. (Grand Rapids); Maricopa County, Ariz. (Phoenix); and Montgomery County, Penn. (Philadelphia metro area).

On the other hand, researchers found the following counties had the highest natural hazard risk: Oklahoma City, Okla.; Monroe County, Fla. (Key West); Cleveland County, Okla. (Oklahoma City); Nevada County, Calif. (Truckee); and Lake County, Calif. (Clearlake).

Source: RealtyTrac