Climate risks, including flooding, wildfires, extreme temperatures, hurricanes, and drought, are increasingly impacting the decisions of prospective buyers. More than 4 in 5 buyers consider climate risks as they shop, with millennial and Gen Z shoppers more likely to consider climate than other generations, according to new research from Zillow.
“Climate risks impact where most prospective buyers shop for a home,” says Zillow senior population scientist Manny Garcia. “While all generations juggle trade-offs like budget, floor plans, and commute times, younger home shoppers are more likely to face another consideration: They want to know if their home will be safe from rising waters, extreme temperatures, and wildfires.”
A majority of prospective buyers in each region consider at least one climate risk when shopping for a home, with shoppers in the West most likely to report climate risk as “very or extremely” impactful in their home search. Conversely, more than one-third of prospective home buyers in the South and Midwest say climate risks are not very impactful or not at all impactful in their home shopping experience.
Younger home shoppers are more likely to cite climate risks as a major concern. Millennial and Gen Z shoppers, who comprise approximately 54% of all home buyers, are most likely to consider a climate risk when determining where to shop for a home. Across generations, a majority of home shoppers take into account at least one climate risk when shopping for a home.
However, despite rising concerns about climate risk, Zillow’s research suggests a majority of buyers are not considering moving to a region they consider less risky in terms of climate. About half of respondents plan to remain in areas that pose the same climate risks they already face. Only 23% of respondents indicated they are considering homes in areas that they believe to be safer from the dangers of climate risks and major climate events.
A factor likely impacting prospective home buyers' willingness to accept climate risks is affordability concerns. First-time home shoppers are likely to accept a home where they can afford it, regardless of other considerations, according to Zillow. Zillow estimates it takes nearly 12 years for a typical first-time buyer to save for a down payment, and the desire to become a homeowner takes greater precedence over other factors.
The research for the report was generated from Zillow’s Consumer Housing Trends Report survey of nearly 12,000 prospective buyers.