Posted on 2nd February 2014

Is the Bad Weather Threatening Property Prices?

Martin Williamson, Head of Residential PropertyRecent deluges have not only had an impact on the structure and stability of individual properties, they have also had a dampening effect on the property market itself. The Environment Agency says one in six homes in England is now at risk of flooding. Many estate agents are reporting that the number of potential buyers pulling out of purchases is also on the increase.

According to our poll of estate agents, many are put off by the likelihood that building insurance will be more expensive or even impossible to secure if floods increase. They are also discouraged from making a purchase by muddy driveways or water-logged lawns.

When the weather does take a turn for the worse, the consequences can be dire for home owners and their properties.

Stephen McOwan of Smiths Gore said: "A property, which has been affected by floods over recent times, will be affected in terms of its value with insurance levels potentially being impacted as well.

A case in point occurred just up the road in Morpeth when floods deluged over 1,000 properties in September 2008. Charles Tucker, chairman of the National Flood Forum, said: "The floods in Morpeth had a significant damaging effect on sales. Few houses sold in the first two years afterwards, and those that did were predominantly to the buy-to-let market at a discount.

Properties with a river or sea view command high prices, but the big question is will their market value go into freefall if we continue to experience flooding?

The new flood peril map released by the Environment Agency for England late last year leads to the question about whether lenders may decline to lend or re-mortgage on a property they feel will struggle to get insurance. This may affect home owners looking to sell their properties. This situation may get worse as the shortage of land means that many new build developments are being built on water meadows and flood plains.

Geoff Graham of J W Wood commented: "Insurance is going to be difficult to get in these flood affected areas, which will have an impact on securing loans to fund buying the property, and as a result its price.

Giles Edwards of Giles Edwards Yorkshire Property commented on the aesthetic impact of floods: "The increased risk of flooding has had an impact in terms of property viewings and in such cases when properties are down a muddy lane, this can create a bad impression.

It is a sobering fact that according to a YouGov survey published at the end of 2010, 43 per cent of British homeowners have not investigated the risk of flood to their current home.