W.U.I. On Fire: Risk, Salience & Housing Demand

39 Pages Posted: 3 Nov 2014 Last revised: 9 May 2015

See all articles by Shawn McCoy

Shawn McCoy

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Randall Walsh

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2014

Abstract

We investigate the effects of wildfires on risk perceptions by quantifying the impact of severe wildfires on housing price and transaction dynamics. Our empirical results are interpreted through the lens of a parsimonious model of sorting between locations that vary in their perceived level of fire risk. The model allows us to infer the evolution of risk perceptions among potential sellers and buyers of properties located in the proximity of large wildfire events. Our empirical analysis is based on a multi-dimensional characterization of the potential linkages between fire events and risk perceptions which incorporates measures of both proximity and burn scar views as well as a properties latent wildfire risk. Our analysis provides a connection between changes in underlying risk perceptions and the observed differences in housing price and quantity dynamics across properties that differ in both their spatial relationship to wild fire events (views vs. proximity) and their latent risk for wildfire.

Suggested Citation

McCoy, Shawn and Walsh, Randall, W.U.I. On Fire: Risk, Salience & Housing Demand (October 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20644. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2518734

Shawn McCoy (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4901 Wesley Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Randall Walsh

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4901 Wesley Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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