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Climate change and real estate: The new calculus for homebuyers

Climate change and real estate: The new calculus for homebuyers

How we value homes -- and how we buy them -- is evolving.

There's a new wild card in the housing market that's giving some prospective buyers pause: the costs of climate change.

When Aditi Shekar flew from New York City to San Francisco four years ago to launch Zeta, a financial tech company servicing families, she was drawn to the robust fintech community and access to investors and engineers. (Disclosure: I am an investor in Zeta.)

"Climate is our top criteria," says Shekar, who has now lived through numerous cycles of droughts and wildfires in Northern California. "We want our home to be something we hand over to our kids." They have their eyes set on Bozeman, Montana, an increasingly popular destination for Millennial professionals seeking a laidback-but-connected lifestyle. Though Montana is not immune to climate change, the couple believes living there will be more sustainable. "We see longevity there," says Shekar, who spoke at length about her move on the So Money podcast.

In Cedar City, Utah, 29-year-old Elise Grant shares similar sentiments about the relationship between climate and homebuying. As a married mother of three young children, she and her husband decided not to buy a home in her childhood town of St. George, Utah due to the increasing risk of drought. Instead, they purchased a house one hour away, higher up in the mountains. "The population of St. George is exploding -- and there is no plan to conserve water," she says. "We can't see a long-term affordable future there."

Now, with her company fully remote and her husband's work also entirely online, they're accelerating plans to move. This time, finding a "tech-friendly" community is not the priority.

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