Real Estate

This is how much California’s wildfires could cost homeowners

More than $2 billion worth of homes at risk

Wildfires are continuing to rage across the state of California, claiming the lives of at least 31 people and destroying more than 4,531 acres.

An analysis by Realtor.com indicates that a total value of $2.6 billion in residential properties are at risk within the Butte Fire path, including 9,527 single-family homes, condominiums or townhomes. 

Homes within the fire boundary have a median value of $247,000, less than Butte County's median value of $313,000. Notably, they are also 16% of the total value of single-family homes, condominium or townhome properties in Butte County and 18% of owner-occupied households in the county, according to the report.

“The Butte Fire is going to have significant impact on county residents and its real estate market,” the report also stated. “In the short-term, owners and residents will likely attempt to relocate locally, driving up the prices of undamaged homes for rent and for sale.”

The Hill Fire has also wreaked its fair share of havoc on California’s housing.

According to the report, $21.3 million residential homes within Hill Fire’s boundary are at risk, including 26 single-family homes, condominiums or townhomes.

Homes facing Hill's wrath, have a median value of $592,000, relatively cheaper than other homes in Ventura County. In this area, the median home cost $685,000, according the report.

Because of this, the report claims residents seeking replacement housing will be met with difficulty.

"Finding a replacement home in the local market will be a challenge as median sale prices in October were higher than the value of fire-threatened homes and the number of the real estate market in Ventura County, as properties within the fire's perimeter make-up a small fraction of total households in the county and inventory for sale in the county,” the Realtor.com report explained.

The Butte and Hill fires are just a couple of fires that have terrorized California in 2018.

Earlier this year, the Carr Fire in Northern California, killed more than six people and scorched more than 121,000 acres.

During this time, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reminded servicers that homeowners impacted by the fires were eligible to stop making mortgage payments for up to 12 months. Residents would also be void of paying late fees or have delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus.

“Our thoughts are with the families and communities impacted by the devastating California wildfires,” Fannie Mae Senior Vice President and Chief Credit Officer Carlos Perez said. “Fannie Mae and our servicing partners are focused on ensuring mortgage assistance is available during this challenging time.”

As of now, the GSEs have yet to announce eligibility for victims of the Southern California wildfire. HousingWire will update if this changes.

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