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Real Estate - AUGUST 13, 2019

Most young adults expect climate change to affect them personally

by Released

A new survey by Zillow shows half (50 percent) of residents of major U.S. metro areas believe climate change will affect their homes or communities within their lifetime.

According to the latest Zillow Housing Aspirations Report, young adults and people who live in coastal metros are the most likely to anticipate their lives will be affected by climate change. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of people ages 18 to 34 say their homes or communities will be affected either “somewhat” or “a great deal” in their lifetimes, compared with 51 percent of people ages 35 to 54, and only 39 percent of those 55 and older.

This comes on the heels of an analysis published last month by Zillow and Climate Central that found that more than 800,000 existing homes worth $451 billion will be at risk in a 10-year flood by 2050. Another recent Zillow analysis shows there are nearly a half million homes in California at risk from wildfires.

Residents of all ages in Miami (61 percent), San Jose (59 percent) and Los Angeles (57 percent) were most likely to anticipate climate change impact, while those in St. Louis (40 percent), Detroit (43 percent) and Philadelphia (44 percent) were least likely.

There also were differences along political lines. Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of Democrats said they expected to be affected somewhat or a great deal by climate change within their lifetime, while 43 percent of Republicans said they did not expect any impact at all. Nearly one-third (32 percent) of Republicans said they expected an impact.

While there was disagreement on the effects of climate change, there was consensus around possible solutions across all groups. Of those surveyed, 71 percent would support new laws to prevent developers from building in high-risk areas that are prone to natural disasters. Additionally, 62 percent support making structural improvements to homes to mitigate damage, while 59 percent would support the adoption of new policies that require homeowners in high-risk areas to buy disaster insurance.

When it comes to taxes, only about a quarter (27 percent) support the idea of increasing taxes for relocation, while 42 percent would be willing to pay higher taxes to fund defensive infrastructure.

“This survey confirms that millions of Americans are sensitive to the risks associated with climate change and believe they will face them in their lifetimes,” said Skylar Olsen, director of economic research at Zillow. “Young adults are much more likely to recognize the reality of climate change–related risks to their homes and communities. Every month, new evidence is brought to light about the risks ranging from rising temperatures to more frequent floods to wildfires, and people are hearing the message. Even across age groups and political lines, there is at least consensus that when you are in a hole the first step is to stop digging, in this case by not continuing to build new homes in high-risk areas.”

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