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Study: Millions of US Homes at Very High Risk from Natural Disasters

Workers pause while working on house damaged by a tornado in Pilger, Nebraska, June 18, 2014.
A new analysis shows that 10.6 million U.S. homes are at very high risk of damage from hurricanes, tornados, or earthquakes.

That works out to about eight percent of the 131 million housing units in the United States.

The study by RealtyTrac shows that about 3 percent of homes are at very low risk of these natural disasters.

RealtyTrac's Daren Blomquist said a new on-line map should help prospective home buyers, businesses, investors and others make better-informed decisions about buying properties, or making homes more resistant to hazards.

"People are becoming more and more concerned about the risk of natural disaster, especially in the context of how it may affect [their] biggest asset, which is their homes," Blomquist said in an interview with VOA.

Blomquist said the growing worries may reflect concerns that climate change was making storms worse and more frequent.

He said natural hazards were just one of many factors in a decision to buy a property. That may explain why some homes in high risk areas have above-average values and rising prices.

Blomquist said RealtyTrac may expand the ratings to include the risk of fire and flood, but it would take more work to get all the relevant data.