Wildfires' Potential Impact on Property Values

August 2, 2018
Treeline against yellow sky
Photo: Unsplash/Stephen Leonardi

The Carr fire burning north of Sacramento, Calif. has already claimed six lives and 1,018 homes, and now local housing experts are assessing the impact it may have on property values. 

Real estate appraisers posit that prices in nearby communities will rise between 10 and 25 percent, while homes in affected areas like Redding will see a drop of about 25 to 50 percent due to loss of amenities and, "because no one wants the view outside of their window to be the scorched earth and rubble where other homes once stood," Realtor.com reports. Appraiser Orell Anderson explains that it typically takes at least two years for a housing market to recover from a natural disaster, but could take a decade. "People will forget" about one natural disaster after a few years, but, says Anderson, "the second or third time, that's the killer. People will think it's a fire area."

To Californians, it has become an all-too-familiar story of devastation and loss. Over the past few years, the state has suffered through increasingly destructive fires claiming lives, reducing entire communities to ash. Last year, 46 lives were lost to wildfires and nearly 12,000 structures were destroyed, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. The Carr fire in Redding, which began on July 23, is already the seventh most destructive wildfire in the state's history. And it's not over yet.

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