Redfin to publicize flood risk data for all listings

Brokerage released data on flooding for 94M homes this week

National /
Feb.February 19, 2021 09:08 AM
Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman (Ars Technica, iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)
Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman (Ars Technica, iStock/Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal)

UPDATE, Feb. 19 2021, 3:30 p.m.: Redfin began publishing flood risk data for millions of homes listed on its platform this week, six months after suggesting that publicizing such information could devalue properties.

Redfin has partnered with nonprofit First Street Foundation to provide flood risk data to accompany all of its listings. The “Flood Factor” service assigns a score between 1 and 10 for all properties, in addition to displaying the home’s estimated Federal Emergency Management Agency flood map zone.

“We’re making it easier to understand the risk each home faces of being damaged by flooding,” said Christian Taubman, Redfin’s chief product officer. “Most homebuyers and sellers say that the frequency or intensity of natural disasters factors into their decision about where and whether to buy or sell a home, so this is information they can really use.”

Redfin’s new approach has been under consideration by the company since at least last summer.

Redfin’s lead economist Taylor Marr told NPR the company felt it needed to be “very careful” about how it displays new data on its platform, citing the effect flood risk information could have on property values.

“Could this actually reduce the value for this existing homeowner and essentially take away a lot of their net worth?” Marr asked at the time.

A spokesperson for Redfin disputed that Marr had any reservations of about whether or not flood data should be displayed and said the company was “deep into talks with First Street and already working with them to add flood risk data to our site” at the time of Realtor.com’s announcement.

“We’ve always felt that this data was important for consumers and our position on this has not changed,” the spokesperson said.

Marr told Inman this week that Redfin’s Flood Factor feature came about after the company spent months testing how consumers interact with flood-risk data and reviewing academic research.

“We determined there was a greater harm in not surfacing flood risk information,” he told the publication. “Without it, customers are at greater risk of overpaying for a home or under-assessing the costs of potential flood damage to high-risk properties.”

The move comes as insurance companies are paying greater attention to properties’ changing flood risk and hiking rates accordingly, particularly in flood-prone regions like South Florida.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include a quote from a Redfin spokesperson, as well as clarification on the timeline of the Flood Factor service.






    Related Articles

    arrow_forward_ios
    Plans for the Woodland Hills project with Urban Stearns co-founder Shy Cohen (Togawa Smith Martin, Urban Stearns)
    Urban Stearns plans apartment, hotel project in Woodland Hills
    Urban Stearns plans apartment, hotel project in Woodland Hills
    State Senator Scott Weiner is the primary author of Senate Bill 9 (Getty, California Legislative)
    Study: California’s “upzoning” bill would not lead to widespread redevelopment
    Study: California’s “upzoning” bill would not lead to widespread redevelopment
    Los Angeles housing market reaches new heights (Getty)
    Los Angeles home prices, sales soar to new records in Q2
    Los Angeles home prices, sales soar to new records in Q2
    The L.A. County median of $790,000 was 23 percent higher than last June (Getty)
    SoCal home prices reach yet another record high in June
    SoCal home prices reach yet another record high in June
    Nine-agent Compass team bolts for The Agency
    Nine-agent Compass team bolts for The Agency
    Nine-agent Compass team bolts for The Agency
    Steven and Alex Hakim, Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart with Hollywood Tower (Getty, Facebook via Hollywood Tower)
    Buyer revealed for Hollywood Tower where Monroe, Bogart once lived
    Buyer revealed for Hollywood Tower where Monroe, Bogart once lived
    L.A. County property assessor Jeff Prang (iStock, L.A. County Assessor)
    Despite pandemic, LA County property values rise by $63B
    Despite pandemic, LA County property values rise by $63B
    Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford with their Hollywood home (Getty, Redfin)
    Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford list storied Hollywood estate for $18.5M or $45K per month
    Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford list storied Hollywood estate for $18.5M or $45K per month
    arrow_forward_ios

    The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

    Loading...