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Real Estate Listings and Market Value During Wildfire Season

Real Estate Listings and Market Value During Wildfire Season

real estate listings and market value during wildfire

Thousands of dry lightning sparked new fires across California in the recent weeks, causing hundreds of homes and properties burning around the San Francisco Bay Area. The devastating fires from North, South, and East of San Francisco scorched a total of 780 square miles that destroyed more than 500 structures and killed more than 5 people. Burning conditions aggravated by bone-dry winter in Northern California gravely affected many grasslands and forests turning them into timber. Blazes spread through thousands of acres, filling the skies with smoke and haze, and raining down ash across the region. Will the wildfires affect the real estate near me? What about the houses or condos for rent? 

Rebuilding After a Wildfire

After wildfires sweep through the wildlands, it may take 3 to 5 years for vegetation to come back and restore balance. When rebuilding, adding extra features in fireproofing a house may increase its cost on average from 2% to 20% depending on how much protection you need. Research shows that the use of non-combustible materials discourages fire or embers from igniting other materials. The demands are getting higher for the use of fire-resistant materials and designs. Local officials have expedited the building permit process, clearing the way for reconstruction. As recovery efforts are underway after the fires, the government will continue to provide resources for rebuilding, including the latest information for permits and property tax assessments.

Housing Market Value Predictions

As of August, 54% of consumers believe it’s a good time to sell their homes as the economy is picking up. Realtors still remain optimistic since the continuing lack of housing supply in the San Francisco Bay Area is holding up the recovery and could create even higher price inflation. However, there is a downward trend on coast rental markets with 67% of respondents saying they are impacted from the pandemic, and 35% of these lost their jobs or received pay cuts. 

Current Rental Market

With employers becoming more accepting of the need to work at home, many employees are moving away from high rent neighborhoods. Redfin reported demands are getting higher in smaller cities compared to major cities. However, this does not dampen the spirits of hopeful buyers in California; 48% of Zillow respondents say it’s still a good time to buy in order to take advantage of the historic low mortgage rates. In the San Francisco Bay Area, while there is a downward trend in housing or house rentals, condo living or apartment living searches soared. People searched for 1 bedroom condo, 2 bedroom condo, and even 3 bedroom condo for rent by the owner. With California’s anti-price gouging law in effect, it protects buyers from a sudden surge of real estate prices, allowing them to be more confident to purchase properties even directly after a disaster. The bottom line is that there has been a record level of optimism among consumers and it doesn’t look like the wildfires and covid-19 can crush the spirit of Californians. They will continue to buy/sell homes across the state, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What you can do to protect yourself

Insurance Coverage

With so many wildfires occurring in California, top real estate agents say that insuring your property is the most practical thing to do. Insurance costs differ from high-risk areas compared to other areas. Average deductible costs for fire ranges from $1,000 – $2,000 although people with high-end homes can pay around $5,000.

Air Quality Health Concerns

As wildfires continue to rage across California, residents will have to deal with smoke and ash for weeks and months. It is necessary to purchase air purifying machines to keep the smoke at bay in your homes. These air purifiers help filter the air and help blow clean air to circulate around the house. Air purifiers are different from humidifiers and air conditioners. For air purifiers to filter smoke and ash efficiently, they must contain HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters to collect harmful particles such as dusts, embers, ashes, pollens and smoke.

Were you impacted by the wildfires in the Bay Area this year? Does this make you second guess your residence in such a susceptible area for wildfires? Let us know your thoughts!

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Lex Shan

Lex is a real estate broker, real estate developer, entrepreneur and technologist. He has started an architectural design firm, real estate development private equity fund and California's largest real estate 3D marketing company.

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