Skip to main content

Prices On Fire: High-Risk Homes Go Up In Price, According To Redfin

Sarah Wolak
Jun 06, 2022
Redfin Logo 1200p

With more company employees working from home, many Americans flocked to high fire risk areas, causing homes with high fire risks to sell higher than low-risk homes.

  • The median sale price of U.S. homes with high fire risk was $550,500 in April, compared with $431,300 for homes with low fire risk.
  • Redfin's data observed that many Americans, who are working from home in recent years of the pandemic, are flocking to suburban and rural areas due to larger square footages and to seek refuge from crowded city life.

A new report from Redfin revealed that the median sale price of U.S. homes with high fire risk was $550,500 in April, 27.6% more than compared with $431,300 for homes with low fire risk.

To put that in perspective, in the previous two years, homes with high fire risk sold at a rate of 18.5% or $56,700 more. The median sale price of high-risk homes was up 51.7% in April from two years earlier, while the median sale price of low-risk homes was up 40.9%.

This vast price difference isn’t new when comparing high fire risk versus low fire risk homes. Historically, fire-prone homes tend to sell due to their higher square footage and proximity to metropolitan areas.

Due to the pandemic pushing more office employees to take up work in their own homes, mass relocations to suburban areas led to an increase in the price premium. However, homes in suburban areas are in close proximity to flammable vegetation, such as cypress and juniper.

“Suburban homes tend to be more expensive because they’re large, and demand for large homes skyrocketed during the pandemic as Americans sought respite from crowded city life,” Redfin Senior Economist Sheharyar Bokhari said. “Pandemic buyers also hunted for deals due to surging home prices, and while fire-prone homes aren’t cheaper on average, buyers may feel they’re getting more bang for their buck because they’re getting more space. And for some pandemic buyers, the fire-prone home they bought in suburbia was actually cheaper than their last home because they were relocating from somewhere like San Francisco or Seattle.”

Fire-prone homes also get snatched up faster—revealing the attractiveness of rural areas to pandemic homebuyers. The typical high-risk home sold in 16 days in April, while typical low-risk homes sold in an average of 20 days.

Redfin also observed that sellers of high-risk homes are more likely than sellers of low-risk homes to dramatically drop their listing prices after putting their homes on the market. In April, 21.9% of high-risk listings had price drops, compared with 18.8% of low-risk real estate. 

Redfin’s research in the past showed that many house hunters were concerned about climate risk when deciding where to live; however, the latest data proves that oftentimes, it’s not a dealbreaker.

Jun 06, 2022
Home Prices Decline, Inventory Rebounds

If sales keep dropping and inventory keeps growing, we may reach a buyer's market by December.

Analysis and Data
Sep 23, 2022
Redfin: Bidding War Rates Drop Despite Fewer Buying

The 'New Weird': Mortgage rates surge and bidding wars drop as more people choose not to buy a home.

Analysis and Data
Sep 23, 2022
Home Flips Dip Nationwide, But Profits Surge

The typical resale price on flipped homes reached another all-time high of $328,000.

Analysis and Data
Sep 22, 2022
Mortgage Rates Hit 14-Year High

Report released Thursday shows the housing market continues to face headwinds.

Analysis and Data
Sep 22, 2022
Home Affordability Up For 3rd Straight Month In August

MBA, however, says the recent stretch of modest affordability improvement likely hit a speedbump this month, as mortgage rates rose above 6%.

Analysis and Data
Sep 22, 2022
The Fed Raises Interest Rate 0.75% For The 3rd Time

Chairman said housing market may have to go through "a correction" to return to balance.

Regulation and Compliance
Sep 21, 2022