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Wildfires' Effect on California Housing Market

Market Data + Trends

Wildfires' Effect on California Housing Market

October 7, 2020
San Francisco engulfed in orange hue from wildfires
Photo: bennymarty

Hundreds of homes were destroyed by the recent, and ongoing, California wildfires—and now those families need to find new shelter in the midst of a volatile housing market. Both Napa and Sonoma counties had housing shortages to begin with, but workers fleeing the more expensive San Francisco already swept in to snag homes and large plots of land, according to The same areas have already experienced wildfire devastation before, and as one real estate agent points out, history has shown that when people lose their homes and want to stay, it increases the demand significantly.

"The impact of the fires is rocking the community. ... It's nerve-wracking, it's scary, it's disheartening," says real estate broker Kristofer Chun, of eXp Realty in the town of Napa. "[But] if anything, history has shown when people lose their houses and they want to stay, it increases the demand significantly.”

After overpaying for their last home and battling with their insurance company over their losses, the Senanders were determined not to lose the home they'd moved into only two years earlier. They battled the flames into Monday morning, succeeding at keeping them at bay.

Senander had bought the property specifically because he believed it could withstand another blaze. He set it up with a water tank and pump designed to fight fires. But he doesn't know what he would do if another blaze erupted.

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