Climate Change Hot Topic At National Association Of Real Estate Editors Conference

Photo: Coastal flooding during storms is an ongoing issue that will continue to impact properties in towns such as Hampton, New Hampshire. 


The economic impact of climate change was the opening topic of discussion at the National Association of Real Estate Editors conference on Tuesday.

John Rogers, chief innovation officer at CoreLogic, started his presentation by saying with advances in technology and artificial intelligence, they can better measure and model the effects of climate change.

Rogers said that in 2023, extreme weather and natural disasters caused $92.9 billion in property damages across the country. That only counts the 28 natural disasters that caused over $1 billion in losses, according to CoreLogic’s data.

Since 2019, there have been an average of 20.4 of these “peril events” per year.

“The frequency and intensity of weather events is going up,” Rogers said. “So at CoreLogic, what we did, we can now provide a financial measure to every single property to understand the impact of climate change initially up until the year 2050.”

Rogers said they can use AI to provide insights into weather events that have not yet occurred in an area on a regular basis but are more likely in the future due to projected climate change models. He used winter storms in Texas as an example.

“The reason for that is as temperature goes up, sea temperature, air temperature, and surface temperature, with the cold fronts coming down, basically the contrast in temperatures cause a bigger weather event. And you see the bigger winter storms actually traveling further down south into the United States,” Rogers said.

“Unfortunately, historically, homes in Texas were not built to withstand winter storms.”

Despite the advances in data models, for homebuyers there is still a lack of alarm when dealing with rising sea levels and weather related damages to oceanfront properties. 

Glenn Phillips, CEO of Lake Homes Realty, explained the mentality behind this. The real estate company got into the coastal housing market in 2023.

“I have this premise I came up with that’s kind of related, but I’ll transition it. I think most people, most all of us, believe we’re temporarily immortal. We know we’ll die, but not right now,” Phillips said.

Phillips said that people who want coastal properties realize that they may be underwater one day, but it’s not right now and they are willing to take the risk to achieve their lifestyle goals.

“They want what they want. And their friends are at the beach, and they’re like, ‘Yeah, this could be a real problem, later,'” Phillips said.

When asked if they feel responsibility to inform buyers of climate change related risks, Phillips said buyers are responsible to do their own due diligence and they try to guide people through the navigation process, but in the end, that is not their area of expertise.

“We’re not surveyors, we’re not weather or climate experts,” Phillips said.

Officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predict above-normal hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin this year.

Climate and weather experts will discuss key findings from NOAA’s U.S. and global climate analyses for May, the latest El Nino/La Nina update, and the U.S. seasonal outlooks for temperature, precipitation and drought for the next three months during a conference call on Thursday.

NAREE’s conference is being held in Austin, Texas, this week. On Wednesday, there will be a panel discussion on the evolution of electric vehicles and making places for charging stations at residential and commercial properties.

Mass timber construction and innovative carbon capture will be the focus of a panel discussion on Thursday.

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