Home Prices Rise In Climate-Friendly Detroit, Slow In Climate-Challenged Las Vegas

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The S&P Case-Shiller home price index was released today and showed that the average home price across the US rose by 5.5% year over year in December. Despite worries about the effect of high mortgage rates on buying, a very low supply of homes has kept prices healthy. The annual growth rate varied among the top 20 cities. In one of America’s most climate-friendly cities–Detroit–they rose 8.3%. In what may be America’s most drought-plagued city–Las Vegas–they trailed the national market by rising only 4.2%.

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The reasons people move to or out of a city are more and more often connected to climate change. A study from Forbes Home showed that 30% of Americans are motivated by climate change when they move. “A new survey conducted by Forbes Home found that almost a third of survey respondents cited worsening weather conditions as a reason to move, and over half of respondents that moved within the last few years reported their move to be unexpected.” “Unexpectedness” often means sudden, dangerous weather events. 

Detroit and other parts of the Midwest from Buffalo to Minneapolis are viewed as fairly climate-safe. They have almost no drought and abundant lakes (including The Great Lakes–one of the most extensive lake formations in the world). They are usually not subject to very high temperatures. The area can be cold in the winter, but this cold is generally for about three months. Detroit is not subject to flooding (and no hurricane damage). 

Las Vegas gets 90% of its water from the Colorado River. Battered by doubt for much of its 1,500-mile length, there is also much competition for what is left, including metro and agricultural interests. Questions have been fairly raised about whether Las Vegas can continue to add population.

Finally, based on Case-Shiller, housing costs in Detroit are less than half of those in Las Vegas.

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