ATTOM Data Solutions : 17.3 million U.S. homes worth $4.9 trillion at high environmental hazard risk


ATTOM Data Solutions, curator of the nation’s largest fused property database, has released its third annual Environmental Hazards Housing Risk Index, which shows that 17.3 million single family homes and condos with a combined estimated market value of $4.9 trillion are in zip codes with high or very high risk for at least one of four environmental hazards: Superfunds, brownfields, polluters or poor air quality.

The 17.3 million single family homes and condos in high-risk zip codes represented 25 percent of the 68.1 million single family homes and condos in the 8,642 zip codes analyzed. A risk index for each of the four environmental hazards was calculated for each of the 8,642 zip codes, and the indexes were each divided into five categories of risk: Very Low, Low, Moderate, High and Very High. See full methodology below.

Of the 8,642 zip codes analyzed, 6,238 with 50.8 million single family homes and condos (75 percent) worth a combined $16.9 trillion did not have a High or Very High risk index for any of the four environmental hazards.

“Home values are higher and long-term home price appreciation is stronger in zip codes without a high risk for any of the four environmental hazards analyzed,” said Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions. “Corresponding to that is a higher share of homes still seriously underwater in the zip codes with a high risk of at least one environmental hazard, indicating those areas have not regained as much of the home value lost during the downturn.

“Conversely, home price appreciation over the past five years was actually stronger in the higher-risk zip codes, which could reflect the strong influence of investors during this recent housing recovery,” Blomquist added. “Environmental hazards likely impact owner-occupants more directly than investors, making the latter more willing to purchase in higher-risk areas. The higher share of cash sales we’re seeing in high-risk zip codes for environmental hazards also suggests that this is the case.”

“State and federal regulations require some specific environmental disclosures, when the seller has knowledge, however many buyers take environmental hazards into consideration when making an offer on a home or when negotiating the post inspection agreement,” said Matthew L. Watercutter, senior regional vice president and broker of record for HER Realtors, covering the Dayton, Columbus and Cincinnati markets in Ohio. “The most common environmental hazards buyers inspect for are lead based paint, radon and mold. There are many other environmental issues buyers should consider, such as inspecting and testing for past meth labs in the property, the presence of asbestos and in rural areas and buried fuel tanks. Best practice as a buyer is to do your due diligence during the contract period, and know what you are buying.”

Top 10 zip codes for overall environmental hazard housing risk

A total environmental hazard index combining the four individual hazard indexes was also calculated for each of the 8,642 zip codes nationwide.


Zip Code City State Overall Risk Index 2016 Median Sales Prices 5-Year HPA Home Seller Pct Gain Pct Seriously Underwater Foreclosure Rate
80216 Denver CO 455 $227,609 250.2% 75.1% 4.9% 0.2%
92408 San Bernardino CA 400 $197,500 105.7% 36.2% 13.3% 0.6%
21226 Curtis Bay MD 380 $153,822 2.5% 3.4% 14.4% 0.7%
90670 Santa Fe Springs CA 356 $435,000 52.6% 36.4% 3.4% 0.5%
93725 Fresno CA 339 $158,000 58.0% 37.4% 16.2% 0.4%
14303 Niagara Falls NY 294 $27,750 -0.9% 13.3% 10.8% 0.2%
63133 Saint Louis MO 291 $17,000 -2.9% -55.0% 45.4% 0.2%
91752 Mira Loma CA 291 $425,000 70.3% 54.5% 3.4% 0.3%
19526 Hamburg PA 287 $148,250 15.3% 33.0% 9.6% 0.7%
33619 Tampa FL 285 $88,000 104.7% 23.9% 27.5% 1.4

Source: ATTOM Data Solutions

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