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Climate House Hunting: Local Heroes

The week’s buzziest real estate listings, ranked by climate risk.

Aaron Rodgers.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Glued to real estate posts on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Dwell, or Architectural Digest and wondering how those gorgeous homes will hold up in the next decades? I have you covered.

Heatmap has partnered with my new climate risk platform, Habitable. Every Friday, we add a climate risk score to the real estate listings featured in the news this week and ask: Could you live here as the climate changes?

Using a model developed by a team of Berkeley data scientists at Climate Check, Habitable scores each property for heat, flood, drought, and fire risk on a scale of 1-10. One represents the lowest risk and 10 is the highest. Our rating for each hazard is based on climate change projections through 2050. (You can check your own home’s climate risk here.)

For today’s edition, I apply the Habitable Index to check the climate risk of houses that are local heroes — star listings in locations on the outskirts of major cities. What’s interesting is that across the country buyers are still spending big for risky properties although there are some surprises and exceptions.

1. New Jersey

Aaron Rodgers' home in Montclair, New Jersey \u2014\u00a0a white, modern two-story home with windows across the front.Redfin

Controversial quarterback Aaron Rodgers will have nothing to get riled up about in his new Montclair, New Jersey, home during his first season with the New York Jets. The brand new house listed for $11 million (he bought it for $9.5 million) has an overall low climate risk with nothing to worry about besides moderate drought and heat.

Featured in The Daily Mail and sold for $9,500,000

2. Savannah

A two-story, red-brick townhome.Seabolt

The newly renovated childhood home of U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Conrad Aiken in a historic Savannah neighborhood is picture perfect and recently listed for $4.9 million. Brand new interior upgrades highlight the historic details. The climate risk is focused on the high heat typical to southern Georgia, which is not bad, all things considered.

Featured inWSJ and listed for $4,900,000

3. Alabama

An expansive stone and wood home in a lush compound.Redfin/

A gated compound on 200 secluded acres in Alabama was the highest price listing in Alabama this month. While it would seem habitable, based on the minimal drought and fire risk, the place will be hot. Still, there are few pictures of the inside of this house, so it’s hard to say how actually Habitable it is for $12 million.

Featured in Home Stratosphere and listed for $12,300,000

4. Minnesota

A three-story home on a narrow private island in the middle of a lake lined with trees.Spacecrafting

This house and location is spectacular! On a private peninsula on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota, there are views from every room in the house and also from the lighthouse.

But habitable it is not. Not only will the long private driveway leading to the beautiful stone home likely be underwater, it’s probable the multiple decks, porches, and patios that maximize outdoor living will be too.

Featured on CBS News and listed for $14,750,000

5. Connecticut

A light-colored, expansive three-story house behind a well-manicured lawn.Zillow

A record-breaking sale makes Copper Beech Farm in Greenwich the most expensive home ever sold in Connecticut. On 50 acres, the land includes a mile of uninterrupted beach on the Long Island Sound. The historic mansion has nine fireplaces and gorgeous old trees which may contribute to the low heat risk. But with a 9/10 extreme risk for flooding, it’s a high price to pay.

Featured in the New York Postand sold for $138,000,000.

6. Texas

A wide, two-story stone house behind a gravel driveway and a tree.Carol Wood Partners

Texas’ highest priced residential home was just listed outside Houston for $65 million. "The Lodge in Hunters Creek" is Texas-sized (22,000 square feet) and includes a personal 24-hour guard house. I have to admit, the house and the setting and landscaping is stunning. But gosh that is a lot of money to pay to live with the most extreme heat and flood risk with a little drought and fire risk thrown in.

Featured on Fox Business and listed for $65 million.


Ann Marie Gardner

Ann Marie Gardner is an award-winning editor and entrepreneur. She writes about design and climate and just launched Habitable, a newsletter and tool to assess your home's risk from climate change. You can read it here: Read More

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