UK Property: Have the floods washed away the value?

Written on 10 March 2014

Over the past few weeks my morning routine has not faltered. I wake up. I negotiate my way around the end of the bed (not always successfully) and head towards to the bathroom. Once there, I head to the back wall and stare out of the window. Usually my presence is met by an over zealous security light on a commercial unit behind my flat that takes great pleasure in highlighting my every move to anybody who happens to care. Once both my eyes and ego have adjusted to the limelight, my gaze is caught as originally intended to a small space just behind the insecure commercial unit, in order to observe the white water rapids that have recently replaced the nice calm section of the Thames just metres away from my abode.

It has to be admitted that most thoughts of 'are we going to flood?' were dispersed by the sheer hilarity of the occasional duck being swept down stream at near light speed with a completely bemused look upon its face, but I'm sure it is a thought that has plagued many peoples minds in the past few weeks as the winter monsoons rampaged onward.

Turning our minds to those heavily affected by the floods in areas such as Tewkesbury and Somerset, one can only imagine the effects caused on both individuals and businesses. Aid has come in all shapes and sizes. Government schemes include council tax relief for flood-hit residents, and support packages for small businesses. Vodafone jumped aboard the life boat and have offered 1,000 free mobile Wi-Fi devices for small businesses, and Natwest are offering short term interest free financing for all businesses affected.

But once the physical damage has been repaired, what about the longer term implications? What about insurance premiums and property value?

I am currently looking to purchase my flat from the landlord. As it is a top floor flat I have personally dubbed unsinkable, I would be lying if I hadn't hoped for a little splash or two in the lower levels (sorry guys) to potentially bring down the overall price of the property in the ever booming climate we are facing.

History it would seem would not be in my favour. Any direct effect of flooding on house prices in the past has been negligible. Tewkesbury has experienced its fair share of flooding, following the extreme flooding in 2007 only the briefest of dips was observed in property values. Why?  Because who doesn't want to have afternoon tea in their garden overlooking the river. In my very brief experience of house hunting in the current climate, the value of a property is most certainly what somebody is willing to pay for it. A riverside property will always retain a degree of value based on this principle alone, despite newly found owners clambering for their wellies for a few weeks of the year.

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