Report: Hazards not a top priority for homebuyers
National housing data over the past few years would suggest prospective homebuyers are not too interested in whether they're moving into an area full of environmental hazards.
Looking at the past year, and the most recent five-year period, a report from RealtyTrac found the markets with the highest prevalence of man-made environmental hazards presented the strongest home price appreciation.
The report evaluated bad air quality days, as well as Superfund sites, brownfield sites, industrial polluters and former drug labs.
"I think it's just a sign that a lot of times, homebuyers are not aware of these issues in their area," said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. "This is another factor that impacts the value of your home and also the quality of life that you're going to experience living in your home."
Among the most populated counties in the country, New Jersey's Hudson County and Essex County ranked in the top 10 for highest prevalence of man-made environmental hazards. Bad air quality days and Superfund sites contributed to the poor rankings.
Saint Louis City, Baltimore City, Philadelphia County and Denver County, Colorado also ranked in the top 10 for highest prevalence of man-made environmental hazards.
But over the long-term, homes in high-hazard areas don't do as well as those in low-hazards areas. In fact, looking over the past 10 years, home price appreciation is much greater in the markets with the lowest hazard scores.
Blomquist said, on average, homes in the top 50 markets saw a 16 percent appreciation value over a 10-year period.
Deschutes County in Oregon, Saint Lawrence County in New York and Skagit County in Washington were among those areas with the lowest prevalence of man-made environmental hazards.