It’s almost never not natural hazard season these days. But, with Barry barreling into the Louisiana Gulf Coast, and sizzling summer winds shifting across the West Coast’s arid forests and grasslands, high season for disasters has opened with a ferocious punch.
Core Logic chief economist Frank Nothaft notes in a July outlook:
More than 500,000 acres have been burned by wildfires during the first six months of 2019, and there is increasing fire risk as the summer progresses.
The bulk of wildfires are in rural locations and cause limited structure damage, but occasionally a fire explodes into an urban center. Two recent examples in California were the Camp Fire in November 2018 and the Tubbs Fire in October 2017. The Camp Fire incinerated about 20% of the one-family housing stock in Butte county and the Tubbs Fire destroyed about 6% of the one-family homes in the city of Santa Rosa in Sonoma county. CoreLogic estimated the value of property loss at $11 to $13 billion from the Camp fire and $5 to $7 billion from the Tubbs fire.
Nothaft concludes with five data bullet points on the impact of 2018’s named wildfire events:
- Mortgage delinquency rates spiked at least 50% after the Tubbs and Camp fires.
- Property loss totaled $11-13 billion for the Camp fire, $5-7 billion for the Tubbs fire.
- Housing stock loss and increased demand by displaced families add to shelter costs.
- Rent and home-price growth accelerated after the Tubbs and Camp wildfires.
- Home sales fell in Paradise but jumped elsewhere in Butte county after the Camp fire.
So, disasters–whether or not you attribute them to changing climate patterns and the cause of those changes–are a thing.
It’s all about time. In many cases, it’s about the excruciating and destructive amount of time it takes those who experience a natural disaster–wildfire, hurricane, tornado, flooding, earthquake, etc.–to get back into their own home.