Mortgage market is unprepared for climate risk, says industry report

  • With numerous stakeholders in housing finance, climate change will send significant stress down a long financial line, according to a Mortgage Bankers Association report.
  • The report said it could increase mortgage default, increase the volatility of house prices and produce significant climate migration.

Record-setting rain, floods and wildfires are examples of the rising risks to the U.S. housing market from climate change.

Mortgage lenders and investors are woefully unprepared not only to mitigate their risk but to even gauge that risk, according to a new report from the Mortgage Bankers Association’s Research Institute for Housing America.

“They are anxious to figure out what to do but not sure where to go to find out. They are unprepared but no longer unaware,” said Sean Becketti, author of the report and former chief economist at Freddie Mac.

There are numerous stakeholders in housing finance, including consumers, landlords, homebuilders, appraisers, mortgage originators and servicers, insurance companies, mortgage investors, government agencies, and the government-sponsored enterprises that issue mortgages (Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). That means climate change will send significant pressure down a long financial line.

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