What Flooding Means for Property Values

Brisbane floods and property values go hand in hand. Immediately post the 2011 Brisbane floods there are no prizes to what was the most asked question for property buyers looking at Brisbane! These floods were a game changer for the Brisbane property market and a real wake up call as we had seen nothing like it since 1974. The 2011 floods reduced buyer activity and demand to purchase property even lower than the 1974 floods, or any flood level for that matter.

Like in 1974, the 2011 flood had slowed the market across the board. Although the market in general came back reasonably quickly in the areas that were nowhere near the flood, those that were close to flood or in neighbouring flood effected suburbs remained flat for some time. The properties that were actually flooded did not recover their values for many years, some still have not recovered to this day and some in lower socio-economic areas may never recover.

The vast majority of higher value or prestige properties along the river that were adequately insured have been rectified and/or renovated. Some lower end residential areas have not seen the same sort of makeovers, especially where owners did not have insurance or an adequate level of cover to meet the cost of the damages. Likewise the lower lying business and industrial areas of Brisbane were slow to recover and some businesses lost everything and did not recover, leaving properties derelict to this day.

As time passed after the 1974 floods, the development of Wivenhoe dam commenced and there were ongoing works in the south east catchment reported to mitigate future potential flood risks, the memory of those floods faded. So much so it has been reported since 2011 that many areas that did not flood in 1974, flooded in 2011 due to new development approved by Brisbane City Council which fundamentally changed contouring. This ultimately meant that water flowed into areas it had previously not been taking many by surprise.

River flooding like we have seen in the recent times of 1974 and 2011 is only one layer that should be considered when assessing how a property can be impacted by water flow. Consideration should be also given to creek flooding, overland flow paths, storm water drain back up and storm tide. We have local knowledge on many properties that may never be effected by flood that have had overland flow after periods of sustained and prolonged rain. This is contour driven water flow which is also mapped by the Brisbane City Council but many people do not give due consideration to when buying property.

There are obviously many factors that can adversely impact on the value of property. It is certainly apparent in Brisbane that one factor at the top of the list is flooding which has been brought to bare from the two natural occurrences I have mentioned here, as well as the public awareness that continues in the market place from these. The fact that a property is impacted by flood or overland flow is something that is fundamentally difficult to change and therefore has a long term impact on that properties value.

When considering buying property it is worthwhile doing your research diligently, performing as many searches as you can and gathering as much local knowledge as possible. It is not always practical for the average buyer to delve deeply into a properties history, let alone the anecdotal history of the surrounding general area. Even after the knowledge is gained on the history of a property and the potential of flooding, the question remains why take the risk of buying something that is flood prone when you can buy something that is not?

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