What do you think about when it comes time to move or choose where you get a new home? Topping your list is probably figuring out how much house you can afford, but you're also probably thinking about choosing a good area for you and your family. Qualities you look for may include a good school district, nice neighbors or close proximity to the office. (Buying your first home? Here are five first-time homebuyer mistakes to avoid.)
But have you thought about how environmentally-safe the potential neighborhoods are? You may want to.
According to the third annual Environmental Hazards Housing Risk Index released on Thursday, 17.3 million single family homes and condos in the United States (or 25% of the areas analyzed) are located in areas that are at a high or very high risk for at least one of four main environmental hazards: superfunds, brownfields, polluters, and poor air quality.
ATTOM Data Solutions, a national property database, conducted the research. To establish the riskiest areas, ATTOM analyzed 8,642 U.S. ZIP codes that had "sufficient housing trend data" for the four environmental hazards. To evaluate these four hazards, ATTOM looked at data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
From there, they established a housing risk index for each of these hazards, each category accounting for 25% of the total score. Each of the four categories had a possible maximum of 250 points and minimum of zero, meaning there was a possible total of 1,000 points. The highest overall risk index score was 455 — click ahead to find out which ZIP code received that score.