Home buyers aren’t worried about climate change: CEO Redfin

Redfin told CNBC Friday that the director general of real estate brokerage believes there has also been serious criticism among U.S. home buyers about the dangers posed by climate change.

“Buyers continue to march on the jaws of destruction,” Redfin’s Glenn Kelman said in an interview with “Closing Bell”.

The fire season in the American West has become longer and more intense due to man-made climate change, fueled by warmer temperatures and drier conditions. Similarly, scientists say that hurricanes and floods grow in ferocity because of the warming planet and rising sea levels.

Kelman said homebuyers in vulnerable parts of the country are not deterred by these realities. “Buyers themselves are driven by accessibility, and the most accessible places in America are the places that are most at risk of being affected by climate change,” the executive said. “They will be flooded by hurricanes. They will be affected by fires.”

“If you look at where people move, it’s in Florida and the Southeast, which is mostly flooded and also has an incredible heat risk as the temperature rises,” Kelman said.

Phoenix is now the fifth largest city in the United States, eclipsing Philadelphia, according to recently released 2020 census data, after the Arizona capital grew faster than any other major American city in the past decade. Located in the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has long been known for its warmth, but experts say it is likely become more extreme due to climate change.

Utah’s population grew more than 18% between 2010 and 2020, becoming the fastest growing U.S. state in that time period, according to the Census Bureau. Kelman pointed to a recent Redfin analysis which found more than a third of homes in Utah do what the company classifies as “high fire risk”.

“I think this idea that climate change is going to be billed as people think about housing, it’s not happening yet. The only people who understand are the actuaries, the people who are going to calculate the cost of insurance. of these properties, ”said Kelman, who has led Redfin for about 15 years.

“Increasingly, it will be more difficult to get insurance, it will be more difficult to get a loan for these properties because lenders are going to see the writing on the wall, that this guarantee is in jeopardy,” he added.

Natural disasters are expensive. In January, insurance company Munich Re estimated the record number of hurricanes, fires and floods that have taken place last year. $ 210 billion in damages worldwide.

Kelman’s comments Friday came as several regions in the United States are struggling with climate disasters. In California, crews are battling a pair of massive flames, known as Caldor and Dixie fires, the latest of which is the the second largest in recorded state history. Wildfires have prompted thousands of residents to evacuate their homes.

Other parts of the United States are dealing with the repercussions of Hurricane Ida, which landed in Louisiana on Sunday. As of noon Friday, nearly 850,000 utility customers were without power, according to the State Public Service Commission.

Ida, after weakening in a tropical storm, made her way north and eventually hit Atlantic and Northeastern states such as Maryland, New Jersey and New York. New York City saw record rainfall Wednesday evening, and the resulting flash floods have shown how vulnerable infrastructure in the country’s most populous city is to climate change.

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