US Estate Agent becomes first to provide air quality data on all homes

Traditionally, estate agents are expert at massaging unappealing features and unpalatable facts into something altogether less off-putting.

Imagine then, that  you are looking at a potential new home and there, right in front of you, is a message telling you that this property will harm your health.

This is something you might well encounter when looking at properties on the website of Redfin, a major American ‘realtor’ who have introduced a climate risk analysis to their website. 

When looking a property online, users can click a ‘climate’ button at the top of the page to be presented with a breakdown of how likely the house is to suffer from floods, fire, heat, wind and air pollution.

The air quality risk data shows the likelihood of experiencing poor air quality today and over the next 30 years from pollutants such as wildfire smoke and car emissions. 

Checking a property in San Francisco we find that the Air Factor is described as ‘Severe’ with 15 unhealthy days expected this year. If this wasn’t disarmingly honest in itself, we can dig deeper for more detailed information:

Based on the expected number of poor air quality days where the Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeds 100, this area has severe air quality risk.’

This property’s air risk is not significantly changing over time.

Over the next 30 years, this area will experience no change in the number of poor air quality days, i.e. where the Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeds 100.

A chart is provided which shows the expected change in the number of poor air quality days (where the Air Quality Index exceeds 100) over the next 30 years. These are the expected number of poor air quality days in a bad year, which is defined as a year with higher than average wildfire activity. Sadly for our property, no improvement is expected.

Explaining their decision to include such information, the company point to a study they carried out in 2022 which found that homebuyers who have access to flood-risk information when browsing home listings online are more likely to view and make offers on homes with lower flood risk than those who don’t have access.

Furthermore, a recent Redfin-commissioned survey found that 9% of recent U.S. home sellers cited concern about the impact of climate change as a reason for moving. 

Redfin Senior Vice President of Product and Design Ariel Dos Santos said: ‘Redfin wants to ensure that every single person searching for a home has the information they need to understand climate risks. Air pollution is an important consideration as poor air quality becomes more frequent due to climate threats such as wildfire smoke.’



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4 months ago

Yes and no. If the post code of the property is in an area with poor quality air all the time,or during certain seasons, then one might not want to go there – for certain! But if it says the air is generally good, there is never any guarantee. Someone with diesel engines left running or other kinds of air pollutants could move in next door tomorrow … ….

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