Natural disasters such as bushfires and floods are a common occurrence in many areas of Australia. This month, large parts of Queensland have been under water and tragically, homes and lives were lost in Toowoomba. On the other side of the country, bushfires ravaged through suburbs south of Perth taking homes in the process.
There are measures that can be taken by homebuyers looking to purchase homes in regions which are in flood zones, or areas which are prone to bushfires.
Property investor Darren started buying homes in his native Sydney in the 1990s, but wanted to look for positively geared properties, which were few and far between when the property boom hit the city in the late 1990s, early noughties.
His mortgage broker had been doing some research and recommended Rockhampton as a potential location for investment.
“My wife and I flew to Rockhampton in 2004 to check out the area, and also look for a property to purchase for investment,” he said.
“We were told by a few agents that there were areas in the city which were in the flood plain, and recommended we avoid those if possible.”
Darren said he went to Rockhampton Regional Council and bought a flood plain map, which at the time cost around $8 and clearly showed the areas which were vulnerable to flooding.
“We ended up buying a house in Frenchville, on the northern side of the city and thankfully, the area has been spared during these latest floods,” he said.
“In fact, the flood maps have been fairly accurate in regards to which suburbs have been affected.
“It was certainly $8 well spent.”
When it comes to bushfires, the protection required can often be a lot more difficult to secure as there are thousands of regions in metro and country Australia which can be prone to bushfires.
There may be ways, however, to whether or not your future investment will be affected by bushfires.
For example, in New South Wales, there is a section 149 certificate which is issued by local councils upon application. It can provide information relating to the land, such as whether the land is bushfire prone land or whether there are any flood related development controls which apply to the land.
The Rural Fire Service has guidelines for building, and ensuring your house is protected from bushfires. They can be downloaded from the Rural Fire Service website.