Mar 27, 2024 - Climate

Calculating flood risks in San Francisco real estate

Percentage change in the average number of properties in significant-risk flood zones, 2023 to 2053
Data: First Street Foundation; Map: Axios Visuals

Over 6,300 properties in San Francisco — 8% of the total — face a greater than 26% chance of being severely affected by flooding over the next 30 years, according to Risk Factor.

Why it matters: Of roughly 4,600 prospective homebuyers Zillow surveyed nationwide last spring, over 80% said they considered at least one climate risk when shopping.

State of play: Real estate websites are sharing more climate risk information with buyers and sellers.

  •, which was the first major site to show a home's flood risk, added heat, wind and air-quality risks to listings this month. The company added wildfire risk in 2022.

Threat level: Nearly 45% of U.S. homes face severe or extreme damage from environmental threats, according to a new report from

What they're saying: "It's vitally important that consumers have this information when they're making decisions about where to live," chief economist Danielle Hale said at an SXSW panel this month announcing the website's new features, which uses First Street data.

  • Those looking at a home can see its potential exposure to different climate risks with scores and maps.

Between the lines: Climate change threatens to make homeownership more expensive, said Matthew Eby, First Street founder and CEO, at the event.

What's next: Climate risks aren't the only consideration when buying a new home, but more shoppers might want to know about home improvements made to mitigate against extreme weather, Hale said at the event.


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