Flooding – and Buying a Home in the UK


There is little doubt flooding in the UK is becoming more of an issue. The reasons for this are varied and often disputed but the fact remains, flooding is affecting UK property through prices, insurance and the physical damage caused. 

Causes of Flooding

Despite there being some continuous discussions around flooding there are a few facts that are generally agreed upon. The fact that the more we build means we take away many of the natural flood mitigation factors is well known. A car park does not absorb rain water as well as a field, a housing estate does not work as well as a bit of woodland either. So as we create more and more non draining and non absorbent areas we have to expect more surface water flooding. To this end planners and developers are now having to seriously consider flood mitigation in their plans and councils are working hard to only give permission to plans which will not create flood problems. That being said there are huge numbers of buildings and developments that were built before flooding was really considered. 

On top of the fact many areas simply cannot deal with flood waters there is also the issue surrounding climate change and increased rain levels across much of the UK. This may or may not be a trend that will continue but flooding is certainly a much bigger topic than it was 20 years ago.

Is a property at risk from flooding?

For many people it is now becoming important to look into flood risk before beginning a property purchase. The same goes for developers but for them a flood risk assessment is actually critical to getting planning permission whereas a domestic purchase can go ahead with no flood knowledge at all. There are a range of flood risk consultants  across the UK and it is very wise to find one local and consult then before buying a home. Flood Risk Assessments can give detailed information about historic flooding as well as the potential risk over the coming years. If flooding is a serious potential then iit may be best to avoid the property. 

Flooding and Insurance

Due to the recent flooding many insurance companies are now putting higher premiums on homes in risk areas. In some places it is now becoming hard to get any cover at all and this is a real problem for homeowners and buyers in the area. Not being able to get insurance because of previous flooding can be a really tough situation for people. Being charged very high premiums can, for some people, be even worse. 

Flooding and House Prices

Does flooding effect house prices? Well yes, if people do their research. If buyers are not checking the flood risk then some properites will sell regardless of the risk. However, high profile flooding in the news will no doubt cause prices to fall across an area. Local discussions and rumours of high insurance premiums can also spread and effect prices as people move within an area. 

How to Deal With Flood Risk

The simple fact of the matter is if you can avoid buying in an area at risk of flooding then do so. If you are unsure then consult an expert and get the real details about flood risk. Taking a gamble on a property may mean you live there for years with no issues but it could mean your home is flooded and you lose everything. The insurance will cover it but the premiums afterwards could be crippling if you get any cover at all. The end result could leave you in a home at risk of more flooding with little or not insurance cover. This then has a knock on effect where the property value falls and you could end up in negative equity and be unable to sell the property. 

This all sounds very scary and it is. As we move forward with better planning and more flood mitigation work we should see a slow down in the effects of flooding but until then it is worth simply avoiding at risk areas where possible. 

Compare listings