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1-in-8 home renovations are triggered by a natural disaster: economist

Sarah Paynter

About 3,000 Australian homes have been damaged or destroyed in climate change-related bushfires, according to reports. Meanwhile in the U.S., natural disasters causing billion-dollar damages are five times more common than they were 30 years ago.

In light of climate change’s potential for destruction, a New York-based nonprofit research group is offering nationwide free access to a risk model that forecasts the probability of flooding for U.S. homes. The First Street Foundation’s research helps potential homebuyers choose the right home, but it can also help homeowners financially prepare for home repairs when disasters strike.

“Overall, the impact of natural disasters on the home improvement industry, whether it’s flooding or storm activity, has really increased by a dramatic factor,” said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist of Houzz, a California-based home remodeling and design platform, on Yahoo Finance’s YFI PM. One in eight home renovations are now triggered by the impact of a local natural disaster, according to Sitchinava.

More home renovation professionals will be needed to address the growing demand for home repair in disaster-prone areas, said Sitchinava. Companies like Home Depot and Lowes are likely to see increased demand for home repair supplies, while flood management companies like Gorman-Rupp and Roper Technologies are also reportedly predicted to see increased demand as climate change worsens.

“When I talk to small businesses, I tell them, you are the first responders. And it’s starting to become more and more so as the years go by,” said Sitchinava. “The investment in dollars being shifted towards disaster recovery is increasing. So this is an issue that we are dealing with in the home improvement industry increasingly moreso.”

Sarah Paynter is a reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @sarahapaynter

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