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Rising number of homebuyers faced flood risk in 2017

The inaugural Homebuyer Urban Flood Risk Report has found that nearly one in seven UK homebuyers faced a potential flood risk when purchasing a home in 2017.

The report, created by environmental risk analysts Future Climate Info (FCI), analysed trends in homebuyer activity within the ten most populated cities across England and Wales.

By using data garnered from tens of thousands of home buying transactions during 2016 and 2017, it revealed that homebuyers seeking properties in London (23%), Manchester (21%) and Cardiff (20%) were faced with the highest likelihood that their chosen home may be at risk from flooding.


When comparing year-on-year trends, the research also showed that prospective buyers in Liverpool, London and Birmingham were all more likely to be targeting locations at risk of flooding in 2017 than they were in 2016.

Conveyancers based in Liverpool witnessed the biggest rise in the frequency of flood risk, up from 7% to 10%. In Birmingham, meanwhile, it went up from 9% to 11%. Both of these locations had a much lower risk of flooding than London, though, which saw an increase of two percentage points, from 21% to 23%.

By contrast, a reduced level of flood risk was seen for transactions in Bristol, Leicester, Leeds and Sheffield in 2017. This, though, could have been partly influenced by a reduction in sales in at-risk areas. 

According to FCI’s data, homebuyers in the largest urban metropolitan areas of England and Wales were the most likely to face flood risks, while those looking to buy in rural hamlets and isolated areas saw risks increase the most year-on-year.

Some 15% of homebuyers in urban areas identified a potential flood risk attached to their property in 2017, a figure consistent with the previous year’s data. Fewer buyers (14%) in rural hamlets and ‘isolated dwellings’ faced a risk, although this was up by 2% from 2016.

“We’ve assessed tens of thousands of transactions over the last two years, and while there are significant regional and local variations, this data emphasises how flood risk is something all conveyancers and their clients need to be aware of as part of the homebuying process,” said Geoff Offen, managing director of FCI.

“It is interesting to see that homes in our biggest cities are some of the most likely to come with a potential flood risk. Due to the complexity of flooding dynamics in built-up urban environments, it is vital that conveyancers keep up to date with the latest developments in assessing and managing potential flood risks – by doing so, they can ensure that a potential issue needn’t result in the collapse of a transaction.” 


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