Homeowners head to the hills: Brits reveal the extent of their flooding fears

A study by insurance provider Policy Expert, reveals that the perceived risk of flooding could have a drastic impact on the UK housing market, as almost 95% of Brits say they wouldn’t even consider buying a home if they knew it was on a flood plain.

In fact, in the wake of recent flooding, many are moving in the opposite direction and heading for the hills. One in 16 (6%) of the 3,000 surveyed, admit they have already moved or considered moving because they were worried about the possibility of flooding. And one in eight (12%) UK homeowners admit they’d even think of moving  abroad if they knew the flooding would get worse.

According to RIBA, approximately 1.7 million homes** in the UK are at risk of coastal of river flooding yet worryingly, according to the findings, many people feel the flooding crisis has only just begun. Almost half (46%) of those asked believe the flooding will get even worse in the coming years, and nearly one in five (17%) are worried that flooding and extreme weather will affect their home and lifestyle. It’s not just those in affected regions worrying what the future may hold. As a result of recent flooding, more than half (51%) of Britain’s homeowners are worried that the insurance premiums are set to rise.

Adam Powell, head of operations at Policy Expert commented:

“After some of the worst floods in recent memory, it’s alarming to see so many homeowners are already considering heading to the hills to escape the rising water. The number of people admitting they wouldn’t even consider buying a home on a flood plain is truly astonishing, and a clear sign that government and developers must be completely transparent about the risks to homebuyers in the worst affected regions. Clearer communication here is going to be key.”

“The floods have already cost insurers £446 million* this winter, and many are fearful of further clouds on the horizon. The government’s Flood Re initiative is a step in the right direction, but with so many expecting to see premiums rise in the wake of the floods, more should be done to protect homeowners in worst affected areas, and to ensure everyone is able to protect their home for an affordable price, wherever they live.”

*Association of British Insurers (ABI) data from 13 March 2014

** The Royal Institute of British Architects estimates that 1.5% of the UK is at risk from direct flooding from the sea and about 7% of the country is likely to flood at least once a century from rivers. It says about 1.7m homes and 130,000 commercial properties are at risk from river or coastal flooding in England alone

Notes to editors
1 Policy Expert customer poll of 2,985 customers. Respondents were interviewed between 5 and 10 February 2014. The research was conducted online on behalf of Policy Expert by independent research company SmartSurvey.

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