Skip to content

The 10 Riskiest Cities to Own a Home, New Research Shows

When it comes to real estate, location is everything.

When you first become a homeowner, you may find that the learning curve is steep—there are just so many ways for things to go wrong. And though nowhere is perfect—or perfectly protected—you could find the challenges mounting if you happen to live in certain locations. At least, that's what the results of one study seem to suggest. conducted a nationwide survey of 1,500 American homeowners to identify the risks they face across the country's 170 most populous cities. By looking at major safety factors such as wildfires, flooding, property crime, extreme heat, and more, they've identified the riskiest places to purchase a home.

"Our weighted assessment includes key insurance-based criteria, such as instances of environmental risk and public safety issues, median age and condition of homes, accessibility to emergency services, and a tally of prior natural disasters, all of which affect a region's risk outlook and contribute to the insurance burden on homeowners," they explain. Read on to learn the 10 riskiest cities to own a home.

RELATED: 93% of People Regret Buying Their Homes, New Survey Finds—Here's Why.

Rancho Cucamonga, California

aerial view of Rancho Cucamonga, California with the mountains in the background
Kit Leong / Shutterstock

A busy suburban city located in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in California, Rancho Cucamonga is known for its popular wineries and naturally beautiful landscape. However, it's ranked number 10 on the list of riskiest cities to own a home in, thanks to the staggeringly high risk of wildfires in the area, as well as a high heat risk.

St. Petersburg, Florida

aerial view of St. Petersburg, Florida
ESB Professional / Shutterstock

A popular city on Florida's Gulf Coast, St. Petersburg has a booming real estate market. According to Florida's tourist board, the area is known for its warm weather and for holding the title of "most consecutive days with sunshine" at 768 days! However, this may also be its downfall where homeowners are concerned. St. Petersburg is listed at number nine, due to its chart-topping heat index.

Baton Rouge, Louisiana

An aerial photo of downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana with the Mississippi River in view

The capital of Louisiana, Baton Rouge is also known as a college town with a vibrant culture and food scene. However, potential residents may need to consider the risks of owning a home in the area—Baton Rouge is listed at number eight, thanks once again to heat risk concerns. Notably, it also has the highest property crime rate out of all 10 locations on the list, with 5,812 property crimes per 100,000 residents.

RELATED: Real Estate Experts Share Home Ownership Horror Stories You Need to Hear.

Hollywood, Florida

aerial view of hollywood florida beach

Located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Florida is home to "60 parks, seven golf courses, seven miles of pristine beaches, and the one-of-a-kind Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, a promenade that stretches nearly 2.5 miles along the Atlantic Ocean," its tourist board says. However, heat concerns and a mid-level threat of flooding make this city the seventh riskiest city to own a home, the list says.

Miami, Florida

miami beach skyline with palm trees in the foreground
littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock

In recent years, many people have flocked to Florida from other states and made Miami home. However, the list puts this city at number six in terms of risk, thanks to heat concerns and the potential for flooding.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

fort lauderdale florida skyline at night

There are three key ways that owning a home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida could backfire, according to the insurance data. Heat and flooding risks are both considered especially high, as is the likelihood that you'll be the victim of a property crime there, as is the case for 4,183 out of every 100,000 residents.

New Orleans, Louisiana

new orleans as seen from the Mississippi River
iStock / Kruck20

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina tore through New Orleans, causing devastating flooding and damage. Though the Army Corps of Engineers has since completed a new system of floodgates and levees to protect against that level of damage occurring again, it is still considered one of the riskiest places to own a home, according to the list. Its property crime rate of 4,646 out of every 100,000 residents is also over double the national average of 1,954 property crimes per 100,000.

RELATED: The 10 Riskiest U.S. Cities for Natural Disasters, New Research Shows.

Glendale, California

glendale california plaza with large clock
Shutterstock / Michael Gordon

Located in Los Angeles County, California, Glendale is ranked among the safest California cities in terms of crime with 1,820 property crimes per 100,000 residents. However, its heat and wildfire risks make it a dangerous place to purchase property—and its low ratio of fire stations to residents only compounds the problem.

San Bernardino, California

hazy aerial view of San Bernardino California

Glendale's neighbor, San Bernardino has a much higher crime rate, with 2,986 property crimes per 100,000 residents. High wildfire risk and high heat risk also leave homeowners vulnerable to natural disasters and other forms of home damage, the list suggests.

Houston, Texas

Houston Texas skyline with park in foreground

If you own a home in Houston, Texas, you may have several causes for concern. Not only is the crime rate shockingly high, with 4,526 property crimes per 100,000 residents, but the heat risk approaches 100 percent, according to the list's metrics. Flood risk is also considered higher than average in Houston—yet another way your home could become damaged if you live in the area.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
Filed Under
 •  •