The devastating floods along the east coast of Australia over past few weeks has emphasised the importance of understanding your risk before buying a property.

Whether you’re looking to purchase near bushland, close to beaches, a river, or even lowlands you should be aware of the local dangers that Mother Nature can bring.

This country has more than its share of fires and floods, so it’s important you research the local area to assess whether you might be exposed to an extreme weather event and what the impact of it could be to you, not just in terms of possible damage, but the impact on insurance premiums or additional obligations should you want to renovate or rebuild. .

Settings of extraordinary natural beauty have always been regarded as an asset that enhances the value of a property, but there is no doubt that experiences of recent years are also highlighting the flipside. 

When working to understand the final impact on the value of a home, the best way is to look at past experience. CoreLogic, the industry’s leading property researcher, found that after the Brisbane floods of 2011, prices dropped 6.1% in the following year. 

The bad news was fairly short lived as prices then trended up again almost immediately, although it took another three to five years, depending on the suburb, for values to return to 2011 levels.

Those Brisbane floods were said to have been a once-in-100-year event, but as the impact of climate change becomes more pronounced, big weather events seem to becoming more frequent. 

As an experienced agency, we believe we’ll see buyer attitudes change in the following ways: 

  • Demand and prices will grow in areas recognised as safe from floods and fire
  • Concern about purchasing in low-lying areas due to flood risk impacting prices in some areas in the short term. 
  • Resistance to higher insurance premiums leading buyers to bake these costs into their assessment of a property’s value.

The heartache and pressure associated with losing a house to floods and fire will be in the back of buyers’ minds. And that’s on top of the practical challenge of finding skilled labour to rebuild.

At the end of the day, it’s important that you are fully informed about every aspect of the home you’re looking to buy. When a building inspection is carried out, ask if there are any signs of previous flooding or water damage. 

Living in pristine bush or near rivers is a dream for many Australians but the cost is staying on top of maintenance and the need for constant vigilance. If you’re in bushland, always maintain your property and the land immediately surrounding your home to keep it safe. The value of homes will always be strong while demand exists to live in these wonderful areas.