Top 5 Countries for Real Estate Investments with the lowest Earthquake Risk

Beautiful sunset over the ocean with palm trees silhouetted in the foreground

Топ-5 стран для инвестиций в недвижимость с наименьшим риском землетрясений

Earthquakes can cause huge damage to housing and infrastructure, and endanger people’s lives. Therefore, when choosing a place to buy real estate, it is important to take into account seismic risks. In this article, we will analyze the factors influencing the choice of location, and use specific examples to show promising places for the purchase of real estate with low earthquake risks.

How did we assess seismic risks

For an objective analysis of the seismic situation in different regions of the world, we used authoritative sources, including the Global Seismic Hazard Map, the European—Mediterranean Seismological Center (EMSC) and the national geological services of the countries.

At the same time, in our analysis, we focused on the following factors:

  • The geological structure and tectonic structure of the region. Whether there were major faults of the Earth’s crust in the past, proximity to the boundaries of lithospheric plates.
  • Historical seismic activity, taking into account the strength and frequency of earthquakes in a given area. 
  • The quality of construction and compliance with building standards of earthquake resistance in the residential sector.
  • The level of preparedness of the region for earthquakes is the availability of monitoring and warning systems, evacuation plans, shelters. 
  • The development of seismic infrastructure — landslide structures, seismic insulation of buildings and other protective measures.

Based on these data, we have identified the geologically safest regions for real estate investments.

Топ-5 стран для инвестиций в недвижимость с наименьшим риском землетрясений

Seismic Hazard map

Countries with minimal earthquake risk

While there are countries that are most prone to earthquakes, there are also those that are considered among the most favorable in terms of seismic threats: 

  • Canada is located within the ancient stable part of the North American Plate. Seismic activity is low here, and there have been almost no major destructive earthquakes. The exception is the Pacific coast of British Columbia.
  • Australia — the mainland is located on a very stable section of the lithosphere, geologically representing an array of ancient crystalline rocks. The region is considered to be seismically inactive, strong tremors are extremely rare. 
  • Norway is a Scandinavian country located on the ancient Baltic part of the Eurasian Plate, where earthquake risks are minimal. The seismic hazard may be higher only in the Svalbard and Jan-Mayen.
  • Denmark is one of the most seismically stable countries in Europe due to its location on the Baltic Shield with ancient rocks. There are practically no earthquakes, even of small strength.
  • Brazil — the vast territory of this country lies within the South American plate, most of which is characterized by low seismicity. The risks are slightly higher only in the north of Brazil, in the Amazon Trench area.

Regions with minimal earthquake risks can also include Finland, Sweden, most of Russia (exceptions are the Caucasus, Kamchatka, Altai and the Baikal rift zone), Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, France (except the southeast), Great Britain, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia.

Security leaders among cities and regions

Let’s now take a closer look at the most promising cities and regions for buying housing in countries with low seismic hazard. 

Let’s start with Canada:

  • Ottawa and the National Capital Territory Region 
  • Toronto, Mississauga and the suburbs 
  • Most of the vast province of Ontario
  • Montreal, Quebec and other cities in this province
  • Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg and the rest of the Canadian prairie cities.

In Australia, the regions with minimal seismic threats include:

  • Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory 
  • Adelaide and surrounding areas of South Australia 
  • Most of New South Wales, except for the coast
  • Central Australia — areas around Alice Springs, etc. 
  • The interior of the States of Victoria and Queensland.

In Norway, the leading ones in terms of geological stability are:

  • Oslo and adjacent Eastern Norway
  • The interior of the southern part of the country 
  • The cities of Stavanger and Trondheim with districts
  • Northern Norway, excluding the Svalbard and Svalbard archipelagos Jan-Mayen.

For Denmark, as one of the most earthquake-friendly countries, safe locations include:

  • Copenhagen and the Greater Copenhagen area
  • Aarhus and the central part of the Jutland Peninsula
  • Other major Danish cities: Odense, Aalborg, etc.

In Brazil, the lowest seismic hazard is expected in the following regions: 

  • The Rio de Janeiro region and the south-east of the country
  • The central states of Brazil are the Federal District, Goias, etc.
  • Northeast of Brazil, except for the areas bordering the Amazon
  • The Sao Paulo region and part of the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina. 

Additional factors when choosing a region

In addition to the low level of seismic risk, other factors affecting the safety and investment attractiveness of the region should be taken into account when buying real estate:

  • Protection from other natural disasters — hurricanes, floods, landslides, etc. It is optimal to choose areas with a temperate climate and low risks of natural disasters.
  • Economic stability and development of the real estate market. In countries with growing economies and high demand for housing, investments will be more profitable.
  • The legal system and regulatory framework of the construction sector. In regions with clear legislation, the rights of the owner are better protected.
  • Transport accessibility and developed infrastructure. Proximity to business centers, airports and convenient transport hubs is very important.
  • Socio-political situation and crime rate. The safety of life and business is one of the main criteria for buying real estate.
  • Quality of life, ecology, development of the service sector and the availability of recreational facilities. These factors increase the liquidity and value of your home.

Thus, the optimal solution would be to choose economically stable and safe in all respects areas with a low level of seismic risk.

Recommendations for buying a home in earthquake-prone areas

If, for some reason, you decide to invest in real estate in a region with increased seismic activity, you should take a number of additional precautions:

  • Carefully study the history of earthquakes in the area. Pay attention to the strength, frequency and consequences of tremors.
  • Contact professionals to assess the degree of seismic resistance of the selected object. Old buildings may require serious structural reinforcement.
  • Give preference to high-quality new buildings from reliable developers who comply with strict seismic norms and standards.
  • Choose low-rise capital buildings with a low structural weight, as they are better able to withstand earthquakes.
  • Evaluate local seismic hazard monitoring and warning systems. Study the evacuation plan from the house and the area in case of an emergency. 
  • Be sure to take out insurance in case of damage or destruction of real estate by earthquakes.

Compliance with the above measures does not guarantee 100% safety, but will significantly reduce the risks of financial losses and injuries.

Frequently Asked Questions

The leaders include Canada, Australia, Norway, Denmark and most of Brazil — countries located on stable sections of lithospheric plates.

For example, in Canada — Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, cities of the Canadian prairies. In Australia — Canberra, Adelaide, the interior of the southeast. In Norway — Oslo, Stavanger, Trondheim and the south of the country. In Denmark — Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, etc.

It is probably impossible to avoid such a risk 100%. But by choosing tectonically stable regions and facilities built in compliance with earthquake resistance standards, you will significantly reduce threats.

The economic situation and development of the housing market, legal protection of owners, transport accessibility, socio-political situation, ecology and quality of life in the area.


Топ-5 стран для инвестиций в недвижимость с наименьшим риском землетрясений

Yulia Yanukovych Editor-in-Chief

I am responsible for the work of the editorial office. I write expert interviews and guides.


Leave a Reply

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. By clicking "Accept", you agree to our use of cookies.