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Lifestyle

Are These Midcentury Homes Ready for the Climate of the Next Midcentury?

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

A midcentury modern home being flooded.
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 week, we add a climate risk score to the real estate listings featured in the news 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 the many midcentury homes coming on the market for the first time ever. Read on and find out out which of these mid-century homes will prove most climate resilient, from best to worst.

1. This mid-century treehouse is a slice of perfection.

John Marsh Davis hillside mid-century house.Zillow

This John Marsh Davis spectacular hillside mid-century house is worth snapping up. On the market for the first time since the original owners (and architect) built it, the house allows for indoor-outdoor living at scale. What’s more, this property should be intact until the next mid-century. Its climate risk is low, with no flood risk and only moderate drought, heat, and fire risk. Race you to Kentfield.

Featured in WSJ and listed for just under $5 million.


2. Hang on — that Flying Nun House is going, going, might already be gone.

Flying Nun House.Zillow

In Bellevue, Nebraska, the “Flying Nun House” just went to auction and could very well have sold by the time we publish. This wholly original home is a time capsule seemingly untouched since it was built and decorated in the 1970s. And no need to worry about that pristine shag rug flooding either; there is little if any climate risk other than the high heat typical for the region. Nebraska here we come!

Featured on @zillowgonewild and listed for $695,000.


3. Chesapeake Bay modern made to withstand floods.

 Tred Avon River house.Zillow

This Habitable house on the Tred Avon River in Marlyand is built to withstand whatever the environment plans to throw at it. Yes, it’s on a river but the house sits 18 feet above the mean high water level. With geothermal heating systems and concrete rain screens and a dock with power lifts with water deep enough to accommodate sailboats, this house is climate ready. Forget Nebraska, race you to Maryland.

Featured on @list.modern for just under $4 million.


4. A San Francisco treat

Oakland house.Compass

With spectacular views over San Francisco Bay in Oakland, this mid-century house on a hilltop surrounded by oak trees and horse trails is on the market for the first time in 67 years. The climate risk is minimal for flood and heat, but the fire and drought risk is something worth considering.

Featured in Dwell and listed for $2.9 million.


5. Will this private island sink you?

Starboard Rock Sanctuary.Christie’s

This mid-century modern home sits on its own private rock island and connects to the trails of Starboard Rock Sanctuary overlooking Acadia National Park in Maine. And while it’s not the worst flood risk we’ve seen, the 7/10 score still may force you onboard an actual boat soon enough.

Featured on @TheCreativesAgent and listed for $1.7 million.


6. This California house knows it has a fire problem.

Amazing modernist California home.Christie’s

This amazing modernist California home was part of a 1950s housing cooperative in Los Angeles. It has been restored by architectural preservationist HabHouse and is now for sale.

With concrete and the amazing carport, the house is fairly fire proof which is helpful considering the 8/10 fire risk. Floods and heat won’t be a problem, but like much of LA, the drought risk will make life here a bit parched. Porsche not included.

Featured on @TheCreativesAgent and listed for just over $4.1 million.


7. Mid-Century Shelter Island marvel unlikely to weather the storms.

 Bertrand Goldberg house.Sotheby’s

A design marvel built in 1952 by architect Bertrand Goldberg who designed Chicago’s Marina City is for sale. Combining plywood, a massive stone fireplace, and floor-to-ceiling windows with full-scale views across the Long Island Sound, it’s a one of a kind home. Shame about the location, though, because this historic structure has a 10/10 risk of flooding. It will be sad to see this beauty swallowed by the sea.

Featured in Dwelland listed for $14 million.

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: http://www.habitableliving.com/

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