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How Will These Stone Houses Fare In a Warming World?

This week's hottest real estate listings, ranked by climate risk

A stone house and sun.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Glued to real estate posts on The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Dwell, Spaces, The Modern House, 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 understand the climate risk of the many castles or homes built from stone, including an actual rock house in Palm Springs.

1. ‘I had a castle in Buffalo ...’

Historical castle home in Buffalo, NYZillow

A Castle in Buffalo, New York? Dream or your worst nightmare? This historic family home built in 1880 with five bedrooms and five baths is for sale in climate-safe Buffalo (must love snow). The Castle at Mayfair Lane comes with requisite stone and brick everywhere, cannons (yes!) and carved Gothic ceiling brackets. It’s probably filled with ghosts, but even so, the house will be around for hundreds more years and the climate risk is so low. Unfortunately there’s no moat, but still it’s very safe.

Featured @zillowgonewild and listed for $1,500,000.

2. Charles Schulz did not go wrong.

Charles Schulz\u2019s among ponds and redwoodsZillow

Peanuts-creator Charles Schulz’s California home went up for sale this week. Sculpted into rocks with rock walls and fireplaces and landscaped among towering redwoods, it contains many references to our most beloved characters. Yes, there are tranquil ponds, but there are also benches with carved images of Snoopy. The property features a four-hole golf course that, like the house, is fortunately free of climate risk.

Featured in NYPost and listed for $3,950,000.

3. The Astor family castle is climate friendly.

New Jersey estate on 32 acres

In Bernardsville, New Jersey, this stone-clad estate on 32 acres is castle-like but the wraparound porch makes it more of a liveable family home. There is minimal climate risk and the place is build like a fort — definitely keeping out the heat.

Featured on Mansion Global and listed for $13, 750,000.

4. School’s out in Pennsylvania.

Previously Franklin Public School in Pennsylvania until 1970Fox & Roach Realtors

This stone building was the Franklin Public School and library in Honeybrook, Pennsylvania, until 1970. The castle-like building has 10-foot ceilings and will need some renovating to make it a home, but it’s got a great future. No flood, barely a fire risk. Some risk for drought and a high heat risk, but the stone structure keeps the inside cool and habitable.

Featured in Circa Save This House and listed for $398,000.

5. Flip this castle?

Waco, Texas castle featured on show "Fixer Upper"Lisa Petrol/Concierge Auctions

This “probably-haunted” castle in Waco, Texas, was recently renovated by Chip and Joanna Gaines and documented in six episodes on their show Fixer Upper: The Castle.

The Gaineses purchased the Waco castle in 2019 and gave it a top-to-bottom face-lift. It will sell at auction later this month. Unfortunately the heat risk for this Waco gem is 10/10. And the high risk of drought makes this place not very habitable.

Featured on @WSJrealestate. Auction bidding opens July 20, 2023.

6. Between a rock and a hard place

Rock House in San Jacinto built by Bank of America foundersPatrick Stewart Properties

In 1926, five rock homes were built in Araby Cove, the first and oldest subdivision in Palm Springs. The Giannini Family, who founded Bank of America built and owned this Rock House which sits at the bottom of a rockface in the San Jacinto mountains, 10 minutes outside Palm Springs. You are literally surrounded by stones: Inside, outside, all around you everywhere you look STONES! While the good news is that the house won’t flood, the drought, heat and fire risk is high.

Featured in Mansion Global and listed for $2,495,000.

Ann Marie Gardner profile image

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:


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