Flooding and the property market
28 January 2014
As an island being surrounded by water was historically one of our greatest defences. Now, though it would seem that 11,000 miles of coast is becoming one of our greatest threats.
The seemingly never-ending rain and subsequent floods have taken up hundreds of column inches of newspaper articles with much discussion about the ability to insure properties that are either flooded or are in flood-risk areas.
But what about the impact on the property market and how potential buyers should respond to houses that have been flooded or are deemed to be in a flood zone? House prices, as we all know, play an important role in the economy of a country and, for home-owners it directly affects their personal wealth. As one of the most significant investments that an individual will make getting it right is imperative.
As with all things a balanced viewpoint is important because sometimes flooding is simply due to problems that can be rectified, such as better maintenance of river and stream banks or the highways agency carrying out repairs to drains. A great example was a mill purchased by some clients. On paper it would not be a sensible purchase, particularly as the property had a history of flooding. It was bought at a sensibly discounted price and the money saved was then spent on carrying out repairs to the old mill leat and stream so flood water had somewhere to go other then through the house. Even in this latest downpour the mill has proved to be water tight.
Undoubtedly the issue of flooding will have an impact on prices and the ability to sell, particularly in the current market which outside London is still not up to pre-2008 levels. In a stronger market, people are more willing to make allowances and are more confident about negotiating.