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Houston Tops List as Riskiest City for Homeownership, New Analysis Finds

In a recent analysis conducted by ClaimGuide.org, a consumer advocacy group based in Florida, Houston has emerged as the riskiest city in the United States for homeownership. The analysis assessed the top 170 cities by population across ten factors, including property crime rates, access to emergency services, and the age and vacancy rate of homes. These variables not only influence insurance premiums but also highlight the potential risks homeowners face.

Houston’s vulnerability to significant and costly risks such as flooding, extreme heat, and other natural disasters propelled it to the top of the list. ClaimGuide.org emphasized Houston’s unique blend of technological innovation and Southern charm, noting that over 2.3 million people have chosen to call the city home. However, the organization highlighted a critical issue: many of these homes are situated in areas prone to extreme heat and flood risks.

According to the analysis, an alarming 98% of homes in Houston are at risk of extreme heat, leaving questions about the fortunate 2%. Additionally, nearly two-thirds of these properties face a high risk of flooding within the next three decades. The relatively high vacancy rate of 9.2% further compounds concerns among insurers.

ClaimGuide.org’s top 10 list also featured cities vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather, with San Bernardino, California, ranking second due to extreme heat and wildfire risks affecting all properties. Glendale, California, followed suit, similarly threatened by extreme heat and wildfires. New Orleans and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, rounded out the top five, primarily due to their susceptibility to flooding.

The analysis included a survey of 1,500 respondents, revealing that 38% had already experienced the impact of hurricanes, floods, wildfires, or other natural disasters. Additionally, 35% expressed consideration of relocation to mitigate climate-related risks.

In response to these risks, some insurers have taken proactive measures. Notably, in 2023, Allstate and State Farm ceased selling new homeowners insurance policies in California, citing the rapidly increasing exposure to catastrophes.

For homeowners in the Houston area, insurance premiums are on the rise, a trend expected to continue. According to data from the Texas Department of Insurance, the average premium for homeowners insurance in the state rose to $2,374 in 2022, marking a nearly 12% increase from the previous year and a substantial 45% rise from 2013’s average of $1,646.