- First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research and technology group, now provides flood risk data and analysis for every home in America.
- Each property is given a flood score on a range of 1 to 10, low risk to high risk.
- Realtor.com will add these flood scores on its property listings, offering prospective buyers another data point to consider when browsing the home market.
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The US housing market could soon see a shift as potential buyers will now have the opportunity to see the flood-risk rating on real estate they’re considering.
Homeowners can also look up their property’s flood-risk rating, thanks to First Street Foundation, a nonprofit research and technology group that launched a website called Flood Factor in June, as CNBC recently reported.
The website uses flood risk data and analysis to create a flood score on a range of 1 to 10, low risk to high risk, on over 142 million houses across the country. The First Street Foundation made this possible by collaborating with over 80 researchers and scientists as a means to inform newcomer and veteran homeowners alike.
The website also shows the proportions of properties at risk in surrounding region, as well as the distribution of property risk.
Real-estate listings website Realtor.com is adding these flood scores to its property listings, which offers those in the market a new data point to consider when browsing the market.
This change comes as Hurricane Laura reached southwest Louisiana early Thursday morning with “sustained winds of 150 mph.” The hurricane was upgraded to a category 4 storm on Wednesday afternoon before touching US soil.
“We’re basically building flood models that calculate the past, present and future flood risk for every home in the country,” Matthew Eby, executive director and founder of the First Street Foundation, told CNBC. “By integrating Flood Factor into realtor.com’s platform, we will not only reach millions of people on a daily basis, we will do so when they need it most – when they are buying or selling a home.”
Unlike FEMA, which classifies about 9 million homes as having some type of substantial risk, the First Street Foundation lists 14.5 million properties as having an identical level of risk.
First Street also utilises other climate data, such as sea-level rise, while mapping rainfall. This features areas that FEMA doesn’t have mapped.
“I think there’s a great partnership to be had where we can create awareness of flood risk and how it’s likely to change,” Eby told CNBC. “That will incentivise people to then ask FEMA for help within the National Flood Insurance Program and then create insurance policies that are affordable to protect themselves.”