Wildfires & Real Estate

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California’s wildfires have found yet another way of doing serious harm to rural California, by hammering the housing market.  Pounded by two straight years of catastrophic wildfires, insurers are raising rates, abandoning long-standing customers and refusing to write new policies.  Many homeowners are forced to purchase from unregulated “surplus” carriers or the California FAIR Plan, a bare-bones policy that acts as the state’s insurer of last resort. The resulting coverage can cost up to triple what a traditional carrier would charge.  Some desperate homeowners are getting quotes of up to $10,000 a year.  Realtors say this translates into lost business. Home buyers give up on purchases, or their lenders scuttle the deal because the borrowers no longer qualify for their loan. California’s housing market has softened somewhat in the past year, and the number of homes sold in June fell 5 percent from a year ago, according to the California Association of Realtors.  But the decline is more severe in fire-prone areas.  While sales figures were unavailable for Amador County, the recent report released by the Realtors Association shows, Calaveras County down by 11% and down 24 percent in Tuolumne County.


Written by KVGC Staff