September marks National Preparedness Month, a time when Americans are reminded and encouraged to take steps to prepare for emergencies. For many people, a home is their largest asset and as natural disasters become more common, keeping it and themselves safe is an increasing concern. A new survey from Realtor.com® found that 78% of recent home buyers took natural disasters into account when choosing the location of their new home.
The survey of 3,026 consumers, which was conducted online by HarrisX in July 2021, found that 62% of homeowners are concerned about the threat of natural disasters, and that number was even higher for recent home buyers (75%) and among millennials (72%).
Natural disasters that are most concerning to homeowners include: tornadoes (39%), severe cold or winter storms (38%), floods (35%), hurricanes, (29%), earthquakes (21%), wildfires (17%), droughts (11%) andsinkholes, (8%). Homeowners in rural and suburban communities were most concerned about tornadoes and severe cold/winter storms, while flooding was a top concern for those in urban areas.
“Natural disasters can have enormous impacts on communities and homeowners, and with increased frequency and intensity of weather-related events, National Preparedness Month is a good reminder of how important it is to be prepared,” said Realtor.com® Chief Marketing Officer Mickey Neuberger. “Our mission is to help bring people home, but it’s also about helping people when their home is damaged or lost after disaster strikes, which is why Realtor.com® recently made a $200,000 commitment to help aid in disaster response efforts.”
With natural disasters becoming more frequent and severe, nearly half (47%) of consumers are more concerned today about the threat of natural disasters to homeownership compared to five years ago; 44% said their level of concern is unchanged and only 9% feel less concerned.
For some, the threat of future natural disasters could impact their decision about whether to move or sell their home. One-third (34%) of surveyed consumers would consider proactively selling their home, moving or both to avoid future natural disasters, while 66% said they aren’t considering either.
To help buyers make good home buying decisions and increase awareness about a home’s flood risks, which are among the most common and costly disasters in the U.S., Realtor.com® was the first listing portal to include flood risk information on for-sale and off-market properties. As of August 2020, all properties on Realtor.com® now display a Flood Factor® – developed by the First Street Foundation – with a score between one (minimal risk) and 10 (extreme risk) that represents its cumulative risk of flooding over a traditional 30-year mortgage.
Over the past year, site users have viewed flood information on Realtor.com® more than 150 million times. The feature is heavily viewed on properties in hurricane-prone states like Florida and Texas, as well as in states all along the eastern seaboard.
While being prepared can’t prevent a disaster it can help homeowners recover faster; when asked how prepared they were for a natural disaster specific to their area, two thirds (68%) of surveyed consumers said they were very or somewhat prepared and less than one third (32%) said they were only somewhat or very unprepared.
To bring help and hope to those who are impacted by natural disasters, Realtor.com® has donated $200,000 to the REALTORS® Relief Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to providing housing-related assistance to victims of disasters. The REALTORS® Relief Foundation, is administered by the National Association of REALTORS®, which covers 100 percent of RRF’s administrative costs so that every dollar donated goes directly to disaster relief efforts.