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If the house you are about to buy is going to be under water in 30 years, do you have to disclose it when you sell it?
Chris Chopik says “yes”. Toronto real estate agent been calling for years for a climate risk assessment to be added to real estate listings in Canada in the same way that data is readily available on the ease of walking from any address. He said these conversations need to become routine and factored into the value of a property.“Of course, I would say consumers should consider where they’re buying and what they’re buying, in the context of climate risk,” he told CBC News.
“So if I buy by the sea, I prefer to buy high. Leave me a cliff by the sea, not a beach by the sea. “
This type of information has become more accessible in the United States in recent years, and it will likely be available for Canadian properties soon.
At a time when the UN is warning that climate change will bring more extreme weather events, this already raises questions about who will be able to move to areas of relative safety and who will be left behind.
“Top of mind” for the next generation
A San Francisco area company, ClimateCheck, launched a website about 18 months ago offers a free report on the risks posed to any American address by climate change.
The risk of an address is rated from 0, least risky, to 100, most risky. More detailed reports are available for a fee. Users can also read more general risk breakdowns for each state. Earlier this month, ClimateCheck’s risk ratings have been added to each ad on the Redfin real estate brokerage website.
The company is working on a site for Canada that could launch early next year, director Cal Inman told CBC News.
“I think realtors are using it as a tool to answer the questions they get from home buyers every day,” said Inman. “In particular, the younger generations are asking these questions. It is a priority.
Another group called First Street Foundation has an online tool called Flood factor, which can provide a flood risk assessment for any address in the United States.
In Calgary, Chopik said, some of this data has been made available to agents for much of the past decade. Pillar 9 real estate services company provides flood mapping data to real estate agents through the Calgary Real Estate Board.
The catastrophic flood of 2013, that killed five Calgarians and caused $ 5 billion in damage, urged the board to start providing this data, according to Shane Griffin, CEO of Pillar 9. But he said he didn’t think the data had a big impact on the market or affected the prices of houses in areas most vulnerable to flooding.
“From what we’re seeing for transactions, would that prevent someone from buying a house? I don’t think it would, ”Griffin said in an interview.
“But would that potentially give them the knowledge they need to protect property or make sure their insurance is correct, or whatever other work they should be doing?” Yes, it gives them the opportunity to be proactive. “
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Canada could see more fires and floods due to climate change
“People almost forget”
Chelsea Mann is president of the Kamloops and District Real Estate Association in British Columbia, a region where forest fires have is raging this year.
She said officers did not have access to any general data about a property’s wildfire risk and did not receive many questions about it. During fire season, there are many resources for people to check active fires and smoke forecasts, she said.
“This year, obviously, has been extreme,” Mann said in an interview. “And we referred to a few years in the past – you know, 2003 and 2017. But in between, it’s kind of interesting that people almost forget. “
Other experts and academics, however, say climate change may already be reshaping some housing markets and could even create new types of gentrification.
“We run the risk that people will be trapped”
Jesse M. Keenan, associate professor of real estate at the School of Architecture at Tulane University in New Orleans, studies how climate change is affecting the housing and real estate markets.
He was one of the authors of a case study 2018 who found that since 2000, homes in Miami at higher elevations have gained more value than homes at lower elevations.
“There are examples all over the world where different population changes crowd out people when they move because of climate change, stress or shock,” he said in an interview.
Another example is Chico, California, where rental prices have increased after a nearby town burned down in 2018, Keenan said.
“It’s essentially climate gentrification. “
He said tools like ClimateCheck and Flood Factor will have both positive and negative impacts. The good thing is that people will know what to expect and that investments can be diverted from high risk areas.
“Of course, for the people who live there, that means we run the risk that people are trapped, or maybe they have [a] decline in their home equity or home valuation because they become less desirable, ”he said.
“I can’t afford to surrender”
Andy Yan, town planner and professor at Simon Fraser University who sounded the alarm on vacant condos and the impact of foreign buyers in Vancouver, said this phenomenon could further inflate home prices in Canada.
In 2014, he proposed that Vancouver, the least affordable market in North America, was attractive to wealthy foreign buyers not because of its job market or its cultural character, but because of its stability.
The same could happen in Canadian cities that are relatively immune to the worst effects of climate change, Yan said in an interview. And then there are the regions that will become dangerous.
Detailed data is not yet available on which neighborhoods or cities in Canada will be hardest hit by climate change. But the latest report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change provides some clues about the domains of the country will be the most affected.
Canada’s Arctic, which is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world, will experience a longer fire season, according to the report. There will be more severe heat waves in North America, which will create more severe fire conditions. People who live in cities will feel the impact of higher temperatures as they will be exacerbated by air pollution and smoke from fires.
Coastal communities are expected to experience severe flooding for the remainder of the century. But Ontario and parts of Quebec are also very likely to experience more precipitation as well as extreme precipitation, causing flooding even in places that are not normally flooded.
“What we discovered with [Hurricane] Katrina was, the first people to move were those who could afford it. And then those who couldn’t were stuck there, ”Yan said, referring to the 2005 hurricane.
He said Canadians must start demanding “political courage” from all levels of elected leadership to mitigate the impact of climate change on housing and infrastructure and more policies like taxes on foreign buyers and homes. empty.
“We just cannot afford to surrender,” he said.
“No safe place”
Annie Preston, data manager at ClimateCheck, said she was struck by the scale of the impact of climate change. She said everyone’s instinct is to say that where they live won’t be affected.
“Especially looking at the heat risks we calculate, as everywhere is so prone to really big heat increases, which is actually the deadliest danger to date,” she said in an interview with CBC.
“It just shows that there is no safe place. I mean, it sounds bleak, but I think it’s also a positive thing, helping people understand that we’re interconnected and that there isn’t necessarily [any] escape this. We just have to move forward together. “