The RealtyTrac staff has released its 2016 U.S. Natural Hazard Housing Index, which found that home prices in the lowest-risk counties are 39% below prices in the highest-risk counties and home sales are weaker in markets at high risk for earthquakes, hurricanes and floods.

Home sales in the first six months of 2016 have increased 4.2% from the same period last year in the bottom fifth of U.S. counties with the lowest level of natural hazard risk. That's more than twice the 1.9% increase in the top fifth of U.S. counties with the highest level of natural hazard risk.

“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,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

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