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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Apr. 23, 201905:10 AM EST

Home ownership and the potential cost of a natural disaster: Where Jacksonville ranks

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Redfin's “Natural Disaster Hazard Score” ranks the the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

When buying a home, you’ll have a number of costs to consider, including the mortgage payment, utilities and upkeep.

But online real estate brokerage company Redfin released a study last week that brings another factor into the equation: the potential cost of a natural disaster.

Redfin came up with a “Natural Disaster Hazard Score” for the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas and Jacksonville ranked basically in the middle, as the 27th safest city.

The company ranked each city for five types of natural disasters: earthquakes, fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Using data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Redfin came up with a score from 1 to 100 in each category, with 100 being the most dangerous.

New Orleans was deemed the most dangerous city for hurricanes, so its hurricane score was 100. Los Angeles has the highest risk for both earthquakes and fires, so it received a score of 100 in both of those categories.

Jacksonville, as one might expect, scored zero for earthquakes. The biggest risk is for hurricanes, according to Redfin, where it received a score of 74.

Jacksonville’s score was 45 for fires and 26 for tornadoes. The city scored only a 5 for flooding, which is surprising considering the river flooding that occurred in the wake of Hurricane Irma in 2017.

Although Los Angeles scored the worst in two categories, it was ranked only the second-riskiest city by Redfin behind Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital was deemed at risk in all five categories with the biggest risk for hurricanes, with a score of 82.

The safest city for national disasters is Providence, Rhode Island, according to Redfin. It scored Providence at zero for four of the five categories, with only a score of 44 for hurricanes.

The risks are important factors to consider when pricing a home purchase, said Redfin chief economist Daryl Fairweather in a news release.

“There could be hidden costs associated with natural disasters,” he said, which can include insurance and the cost of evacuating your family in an emergency.

“Some homes in more hazardous areas might seem more affordable if you are just looking at the sticker price, but they may end up costing more when risks related to natural disasters are factored in.”

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