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5 Best Places to Live to Avoid Natural Disasters

The United States is a target for natural disasters. Things like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and landslides dominate news headlines, along with the costly damage these events produce. If you want the best chance of staying safe, consider moving to these five cities.
The United States is a target for natural disasters. Things like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and landslides dominate news headlines, along with the costly damage these events produce. If you want the best chance of staying safe, consider moving to these five cities.

Raging wildfires. Rising sea levels. Tornadoes ripping through cities and small towns alike. Mother Nature can come at residents with a vengeance, but it’s nothing personal — it’s because of where you live.

Though technically natural disasters can strike anywhere, some areas are more prone to problems than others. If you live near a flood zone, along the coastline, or near densely forested areas, consider yourself a prime target for potential threats.

Last year alone, natural disasters racked up a record-shattering $306 billion bill in damages and recovery aid.

Whether you’ve been a victim of a natural disaster before or don’t want to take any chances, the following five cities give you a good defense against costly damages from nature:

1. Salt Lake City, UT

With a population of 1.1 million and growing, Salt Lake City is one of the safest cities against natural disasters. Being far from the coast and high in elevation, the city is hurricane-proof and hasn’t seen a tornado since 1999. In fact, tornadoes are rare occurrences in Utah, which bodes well for the area’s safety against natural disasters.

Aside from its safe locale, Salt Lake City is also a fun place to live. Its strong economy is a testament of the quality of life it offers its residents. The city has a median income of $61,529, which is higher than the national median of under $60K. Though home prices are higher than the national average, home values have been trending upward since 2012 and are projected to continue doing so. This should give home buyers confidence that their investment will only grow.

2. Columbus, OH

The home of Ohio State University, Columbus is not a place that hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods frequent. It’s far enough inland from the Gulf and Atlantic coasts so that hurricanes are never a threat. The nearest fault line is out of state, and the entire state of Ohio has experienced about 200 earthquakes since 1776. Most of those were felt on a small local level and only about 15 of these earthquakes caused minor injury or damage.

And even though tornadoes and floods occur within the state of Ohio, they are rare.

In addition, Columbus is touted as one of the best places to live in Ohio. Locals refer to it as a “big little city”, making it a great place to raise a family or start a career while retaining a small town vibe. You can find everything from golf to hockey to parks to top-rated schools and more.

The area is generally safe from crime and the cost of living is low, especially for a metro of over 2 million residents. Though the median income is about $4,000 per year lower than the national average, the median home value of $156,500 and other lower costs of living help to compensate.

3. Pittsburgh, PA

Natural disasters in Pittsburgh are few, which is good news for homeowners who want to protect their investments. Many locals say the weather in Pittsburgh is boring, but at least it’s not life-threatening. The worst disasters that occur here are tornadoes, which are rare, flooding that impacts a few streets and parking lots, and an earthquake in 2011 that almost no one even knew about.

The flood of 1936 resulted in flood control barriers and dams being built to protect downtown Pittsburgh, and since then flooding hasn’t been an issue. This may come as a surprise, given the city’s locale on the three rivers.

Pittsburgh is also an affordable place to live in Pennsylvania. Low home prices and a strong economy have turned into a seller’s market, with homes values having risen over 4% in 2018-2019. The area is a patchwork of tourism, nightlife, an impressive school system, and activities for families, singles, and retirees alike. The low cost of living here is one of the biggest catalysts of its current seller’s market.

4. Allentown, PA

As the third largest city in Pennsylvania, the most action Allentown sees concerning natural disasters is to prepare for hurricanes. The town takes precautions during hurricane season, but rarely do they ever need to act on them. And even when they do, residents don’t see any significant damage from them.

Allentown offers an amazing quality of life in terms of things to do and places to live. The median home value is just $134,000, nearly $90K less than the national average. The town is just a short drive to Hershey Park, Philadelphia, and Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, and is home to art museums, parks, good schools, and the Lehigh Parkway.

5. Boulder, CO

Elevation has a lot to do with a city’s proneness to natural disasters, and Boulder’s mountain-surrounded locale works in its favor. You won’t find hurricanes here, and tornadoes are rare events. Earthquakes in Boulder are far less common than other areas of Colorado, and Colorado sees fewer earthquakes than most other states.

Though it’s an expensive town to live in, many people flock here due to the recreational activities, job market, and sheer beauty of the area. Homes values have climbed 4.3% in the past year alone and are expected to rise by another 2.3% in the coming year. While the median home value is more than twice the national average, buyers can feel confident that the area’s desirability will help them turn a profit.

Find a Safer Home with Clever!

Are you living in a disaster-prone area? Or are you hoping to relocate somewhere where you can feel safe at home? Whatever your home buying goals, Clever can help you find a home in a disaster-free city!

Clever Partner Agents are full-service, top-rated real estate agents in their local markets, helping buyers like you get to know the local area and make an informed purchasing decision. Buyers that work with a Partner Agent benefit from on-demand showings, a high level of expertise, and, in most states, a $1,000 Home Buyer Rebate you can put toward closing costs, down payment, or moving expenses.

Connect with a Partner Agent today and explore some of the country’s safest cities with a professional’s expertise!

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Jamie Ayers

Jamie is the Director of Content at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents and helps you save thousands on commission. In the past, Jamie has managed columns for clients in a variety of leading business publications, including Forbes, Inc., CEO World, Entrepreneur, and more. At Clever, Jamie's primary goal is to provide home sellers, buyers, and investors with the information they need to successfully navigate the ins and outs of the real estate industry.

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