Study: Homes Appreciate Faster in Disaster-Prone Areas

September 24, 2018

Median home prices in cities with the highest risk of natural hazards have increased an average of 40 percent over the last 10 years, according to ATTOM Data Solutions’ 2018 Natural Hazard Housing Risk Index. That compares to an average increase of 24 percent in home values nationwide over the same time period. ATTOM Data Solutions tracked the risk of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, hail, hurricane storm surges, tornadoes, and wildfires, and the dangers they pose to the nation’s housing stock in more than 22,000 cities.

Depiction of a supercell storm

© john finney photography - Moment/Gatty Images

“While combined natural disaster risk has not seemed to hobble home price appreciation over the past decade, the story is much different for some individual hazard risks—namely flood, hurricane storm surge, and wildfire risk,” says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Home price appreciation in the overall U.S. housing market was double the rate of appreciation in cities with the highest flood risk and triple the rate of appreciation in cities with the highest hurricane storm surge risk over the past 10 years. The broader market has also outperformed appreciation in cities with the highest wildfire risk during the last decade, although the gap is much narrower.”


Buyers have paid an average 1 percent premium above estimated market value for homes in the highest-risk cities in 2018. On the other hand, homes in cities with the lowest natural disaster risk sold at an average 3.7 percent discount below estimated market value, according to the report. The exception was in cities that have the highest risks of flooding and hurricane storm surge. Homes in flood-prone areas sold at an average 2.4 percent discount, while properties in areas affected by storm surge sold for a 1.4 percent discount.

The cities that are at the highest risk for natural disasters, according to the report, are Oklahoma City; San Diego; Clearlake, Calif.; San Jose, Calif.; Madera, Calif.; Riverside-San Bernardino, Calif.; Bakersfield, Calif.; Houston; Santa Cruz, Calif.; and Huntsville, Ala. On the other hand, the counties with the lowest risks for a natural disaster are Milwaukee; Muskegon, Mich.; Cleveland; Kenosha, Wis.; and Rochester, N.Y.