Zillow recently surveyed about 4,600 prospective home buyers who were considering buying a home in Pacific coastal states, including California. Over 8 out of 10 said they were concerned about extreme weather events and how they’d affect their home purchase and value over time. Extreme weather can include wildfires, heatwaves, coastal flooding, mudslides, and even hurricanes.
How frequently do extreme weather events occur in Los Angeles vs. other nearby Southern California areas? These events do occur in LA, but much less often than in Inland counties.
California State Climate Adaptation Report For Los Angeles
The state of California has issued several reports on climate adaptation. In the LA area, homeowners can be affected by increasing heat, extremes of rain and dryness, and flooding.
Within LA County, however, many neighborhoods are expected to be less affected by climate extremes than inland Southern California areas. While we have seen serious fires in Malibu and recent storms like Tropical Storm Hilary have had impacts, the greatest amounts of flooding were seen in inland areas.
Is LA At Risk For Wildfires?
Wildfires are common in Los Angeles County, but they occur less frequently and less severely than in Inland areas or Northern California. According to the LA County Fire Department, wildfires usually occur in hillside areas that are adjacent to the Angeles National Forest or other wilderness regions. If you buy a house in one of LA’s urban areas, your biggest risk will be wildfire smoke, not flames that could destroy your home.
However, there are a number of beautiful LA neighborhoods which are located in hillside areas, including some of the city’s most exclusive zip codes, which require fire protection and defense.
The LA County Fire Department provides a personal wildfire action plan for homeowners. If you purchase a home in one of these areas, chances are, the homeowner has already prepared the property for defense against fire as well as other climate impacts.
Insurance Considerations for Los Angeles Homes
Most homeowners insurance policies will cover fire damage, as well as flood and other potential climate impacts. However, some homes and estate properties are built in areas of high fire risk in LA County, including Calabasas, Bel Air and Brentwood, Agoura Hills, Malibu, La Canada Flintridge, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Homes in high fire risk areas can have higher insurance premiums. Owners can also apply for the state’s FAIR insurance program that provides wildfire insurance coverage. Flood insurance coverage can also be provided through carriers that specialize in this type of policy.
“Is my neighborhood safe?” is a question that a qualified and experienced real estate professional like the experts at California Platinum Real Estate and California Platinum Loans will answer for you. They are qualified to discuss the risks and rewards of buying a home in Los Angeles. With over 18 million residents, the Los Angeles area is being affected by extreme weather events. However, choosing the right home in the right neighborhood will help you to mitigate these risks and enjoy many safe, happy years to come.
CalFire, “Los Angeles County Very High Fire Risk Areas,” url: https://osfm.fire.ca.gov/media/7280/losangelescounty.pdf
Los Angeles County Fire Department, “Ready! Set! Go! Personal Wildfire Action Plan,” url: https://fire.lacounty.gov/rsg/
Murphy, Kate & Melissa Santos. “Californians’ climate concern mounts during home buying process,” AXIOS San Diego, 12 September 2023, url: https://www.axios.com/local/san-diego/2023/09/12/climate-change-real-estate-california
Severino, Carly. “What you need to know about wildfire insurance in California,” Bankrate, 16 June 2023, url: https://www.bankrate.com/insurance/homeowners-insurance/wildfire-insurance-california/
State of California, “California Climate Adaptation Strategy: Los Angeles,” url: https://climateresilience.ca.gov/regions/los-angeles.html