What is RealChange?

RealChange is forward-thinking company helping you make climate-conscious decisions regarding your home and investment.

What do we do?

RealChange is here to advise your real estate decisions. We provide personalized reports on weather and climate impacts to your home and how those impacts might change over time. Using high quality data and models we project the shifts in environmental conditions that might put your home at risk.

Check out a sample report!

How will climate change affect home value?

The effects of climate change are varied and widespread. Coastal areas will experience sea level rise, cities and towns in the West, and increasingly elsewhere in the U.S. will have to grapple with more intense and frequent wildfires and persistent droughts, homes near rivers and flood plains have to deal with increased flooding from stronger storms. The events listed above have obvious and major implications for real estate values and insurance rates. To live in a flood plain, coastal flood zone, or wildfire zone means purchasing expensive insurance, if it is even available, or living with the risk that your home, belongings, and a lot of money might be washed away. Knowing your risks and risk tolerance before purchasing a home can save you thousands of dollars and save your mental stress.

In addition to the major headline-grabbing climate changes, the steady increase in air temperature, and changes in precipitation patterns can affect your quality of life and day-to-day finances. Hotter summertime temperatures increase the need for AC, bumping up monthly expenses. Homes that have central air, newer HVAC systems, and good insulation will be more resilient to these changes. The amount of rain that falls in individual storms will increase, testing the integrity of the roof and foundation. The more climate resilient homes will be better positioned to hold their value well into the future.

Impacts to home value

Climate change could impact your home’s values in ways such as less demand for waterfront homes, higher insurance premiums, higher property taxes, and increased property values for some homeowners. The consequences of rising temperature and sea level, more extreme weather events, and increasing flood-prone area will result in adjusted home values.

Real estate values respond to climate change a bit slower than insurance rates, especially when a gorgeous ocean view is present. But in sea level prone areas such as the San Francisco Bay, most high value bayside properties will be inundated if sea level rises just a meter, well within the range of conservative scientific projections. Most likely to protect this precious land, dikes and levees will be built costing millions of dollars using tax money.

Home insurance

If you live in a high-risk or potentially impacted area, you are well aware that insurers have already begun cancelling homeowners’ policies and raising insurance rates. In Florida, Allstate dropped 320,000 policies from 2004 to 2007, and is no longer writing ANY new policies in that state. Even if you’re not directly affected, you will likely still have to pay. In response to coverage cancellations, some states are stepping in to provide coverage as last-resort insurance, not to mention the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The National Flood Insurance Programs is heavily subsided through FEMA and funded year to year by Congress. The program is currently carrying a $20.5 billion dollar debt due to the strain of repeated billion-dollar storm events which is unsustainable for a likely future of similar storms. Essentially, while these plans provide insurance coverage well below actual risk premium rates, it means all taxpayers will end up subsidizing the riskiest properties in their state when impacts occur, such as rising floodwater.

How does climate change affect heating and cooling energy bills?

With a new range of temperatures, you will experience changes to your heating and cooling energy consumption. Our model predicts how much your energy bill is likely to rise over time.

How does climate change affect different areas?

our risk is region-dependent. Our report details implications of natural events that may impact your home, financially.

Will this increase property value anywhere?

Despite the negative connotation surrounding climate change, there are always going to be winners and losers in an ever-changing real estate market. Regions more inland and resilient to extreme temperatures will likely experience rapid population increase.

What’s going on with coastal property appreciation rates?

Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Penn State found that coastal vulnerable homes, those that are projected to flood after just one foot of sea level rise, were selling at a 15% discount. Researchers noted that property investors were partially driving the decline, as the savvier real estate buyers are requesting reduced prices to balance risk.

Homes that have seen water damage or are at lower elevations are also selling slower due to risk or repeat damage, structural harm, and mold growth. This means more money needed for repair, preventative maintenance, and frequent repairs after weather events.

Where do we get our data?

This ClimateCast uses a variety of different data sources to develop location specific projections. These data are high-resolution daily projections for the “business as usual” climate scenario. This means if we do not work to dramatically curb our current and ever-growing greenhouse gas emissions, the patterns presented in this ClimateCast may continue for the foreseeable future beyond 2050.

     Data Sources:

  • Temperature and Precipitation: LOCA (Localized Constructed Analogs) downscaled data for U.S. climate projections
  • (Pierce, D. W., D. R. Cayan, and B. L. Thrasher, 2014).
  • Energy data: U.S. Energy Information Administration. All results and projections incorporate energy consumption data
  • averaged across Maine from 2006-present.
  • Flooding data: NOAA and FEMA
  • Wildfire data: USDA Wildfire Risk to Communities dataset