Michigan Will Be The ONLY State to Survive Climate Change - Climate change, global warming, droughts, floods, and overall natural disasters. There are news articles, documentaries, theories, and data points touching on global temperatures, sea levels, glacier shrinking, carbon dioxide increases, and the overall effect on human health. The question is, how does this relate to Michigan. Well, You’re about to find out.
As you can tell by the title I’m touching on something a little different this time, as it’s been frequently brought up by several of you out of state who are researching rigorously about what state would be the best to call your new home. I’m not a doomsday analyst or a conspiracy theorist. I’m simply touching on this topic to provide insight on behavioral decisions based on the topic I’m going to talk about and that’s climate, and I truly believe this could be something to think about as you decide where you want your next home to be. Welcome to Michigan the climate haven.
I’ll first start by breaking down why several of my clients from all over the country have decided to call Michigan their new home, outside of moving for family, work, etc. The best way to lay it out for you is by breaking down some data provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or what we call FEMA.
For those of you that are watching, this map shows Michigan and the nearby states being rated based on natural and social risks from data derived from the CDC. These colors depict a low vulnerability on their index which has been further researched by environment and sustainability professor dr. Derek Van Berkel. His response was, "Compared with the dry Southwest, the storm-ridden Gulf region and the sea-level rise exposed East and West Coasts, the Great lakes region may fare relatively favorably due to an abundance of natural resources and projected climate amenities." This statement alone is the reason we are seeing an influx of people flocking over to Michigan, and this isn’t theory, I work with people every single day moving from all over the globe to the state of Michigan. The droughts and regulations are unbearable on the west coast, too many “what ifs” with the hurricanes in the south, and the overall changing weather patterns have people finding a new place to call home.
Michigan’s outlook in the climate department isn’t the best in the world by any means, but the average threats for flooding, heat, drought and wind are much less compared to the rest of the country. Based on the map, some of the best places to move in the lower peninsula are right here in southeast Michigan: Washtenaw county, Oakland county, Livingston county, ingham county, Allegan county, Ottawa county and Kent county all were ranked the best places to move based on the CDC data, and don’t just take Dr. van Berkels word for it, this very topic was researched by several scientists from multiple research centers in the area who argue Michigan is among the more attractive places to live.
The great lakes region promises fresh water sources that several regions across the country can’t guarantee. Being surrounded by these lakes also moderates some of the extreme weather that would damage other parts of the country, and with the extreme heat becoming a bigger threat in southern regions of the country, Michigan won’t expect that to be a factor to affect them.
Several researchers have published multi-disciplinary studies on the intersection of climate change, socioeconomic trends, real estate and public health in Michigan. When answering whether Michigan is a climate change haven or not, researchers have found that climate change risks will be factored into the majority of people making their next move, but for now the realization is within a small percentage of the population, as people are still moving to states in droves that have experienced a devastating amount of climate factors. California’s population grew 6.1% despite their climate crisis, along with Texas’s population growing 7.4% along with Florida just over 7%. Researchers who have tackled this topic believe that over the next few decades many Americans will have waited too long to make the move and they would potentially be in a situation of losing everything due to a fire or flood. The real question is if the state of Michigan can handle an uptick in population of such a magnitude and it really comes down to starting now to manage the state's resources and adapt the infrastructure for a mass entry of new residents. On the other hand, Dr. Van Berkel also stated that several cities around Michigan are anticipating a sharp rise in population due to climate refugees.
So to sum these points up, mass exodus from all the other states that have been red flagged to have a climate future of great concern, has pushed people to move in fear and of course to seek the safest state possible for years and years to come and data has proved, even though not entirely perfect, Michigan is one of the best. So with climate change and global warming in mind, an article reached the surface early 2023 which assessed ExxonMobil's global warming projections, as their projections were documented by scientists from 1977 to 2003 and found that their forecasts were accurate to real events that have occurred over the years from accurately predicting when human-caused global warming would be detected to the reasonable carbon budget. Several cities, counties and states have filed lawsuits accusing this organization of deceptive marketing and misleading its shareholders, since ExxonMobil didn’t just know “something” they knew as much or more than the government scientists researched, and they worked to deny it. All this just to say, there’s something believed to be hidden from the public, and as all these news articles, and videos reach the surface, it’s putting several people like you and me in a predicament to decide what’s best for our future selves.
I was chatting with a client of mine who lives out in California who is incredibly aware of the climate crisis this country is facing and will face in the years to come. He along with a few other clients of mine have provided me insight to their thought process about the matter by referring to the website Climatechecker.com, which actually is connected to several real estate search engines and home listings, which exposes and quantifies the risk related to climate crisis through their proprietary risk assessment and report. After personal assessment and research, all these individuals from each corner of the country have concluded Michigan is the state they want to call home. This particular client punched in one of his friends addresses 6 or so months ago in the climate checker which would give a climate change risk snapshot with a range in the following categories: flood risk, storm risk, drought risk, fire risk, and heat risk. He then informed them their house could potentially be underwater in the next 50 or so years. Fast forward to today, Santa Cruz has been overwhelmed by an atmospheric river. The skies have opened up and dropped millions of tons of water on the area. giant ocean waves are hitting the coast, and a few weeks earlier, the Santa Cruz pier, which has been around for a century, washed away. The Pacific Coast Highway has also suffered landslides and travel restraints.
Could this be a coincidence? Who knows, but what I’m trying to shed light on here is to do your research, whether you believe in climate change, global warming or that the earth is flat, it’s important to do your due diligence when you’re migrating from one part of the country to the other, along with where you currently are residing and if you’re planning to make the move elsewhere. Yes, 50 years is a long way away, but think about the buyer of your house and their perspective that could hurt your resale value, or even as someone trying to plant some family roots in a new place for generations just to find out their vision will be halted before those roots are actually planted.
In the text “A research agenda for real estate”, it talks about how climate change will have a significant effect on the built environment: physically, financially and socially, as the impact varies across the country from frequency and intensity. Despite climate change being a very well-documented topic, there isn’t so much on the effects it has on real estate in general, but there are some challenges in relation to real estate and that's converting to green energy, so getting any energy efficient appliances that receive an “energy star” rating, to reduce a carbon footprint. There has been some resilience to this even with government incentives. The next point is companies doing the right thing, just as I talked about ExxonMobil, it’s about them portraying the right message instead of selling the wrong one to make profits, and lastly, flood insurance. The reality is, a miracle isn’t going to make all this disappear, so preparing for it is a crucial step in the process, but unfortunately, the cost to prepare tends to be relatively high. Most people don’t know that your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flooding, so looking at flood maps and preparing for the worst and hoping for the best is the most ideal route to go.
This video wasn’t made to scare you out of your next home, it’s simply created as a message to the masses to do your due diligence before you let the good of somewhere cloud your judgment. On top of that, it gives you a little insight as to why several people around the country are making the move to places like the mitten state, because in terms of longevity, Michigan is rated to be one of the best states to live in.
What are your thoughts about climate change? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.
Andrew McManamon is a Michigan REALTOR® with Signature Sotheby’s International Realty and provides real estate services to Buyers, Sellers and Investors throughout SE Michigan including Livingston County, Oakland County, Washtenaw County, Genesee County & beyond. Andrew has become one of the rising stars of Michigan real estate agents. Prior to his real estate career Andrew was responsible for managing a senior living facility in Brighton, Michigan as a dining supervisor and an activities assistant. Andrew’s passion to help people is unlike any other, and he continues to strive to be best resource he can be. Andrew graduated from Cleary University in Howell, Michigan with a double major and currently resides in White Lake, Michigan.