Brisbane was built on a floodplain, which makes it prone to flooding. Ninety-four suburbs across the city experienced flooding in 2011—that’s over 20%. An estimated 15,000 homes in Brisbane flooded in 2022 after Queensland was hit with more rainfall than the devastating flood of 1974.
Because of how prone Brisbane is to flooding, the Brisbane city council has a free FloodWise Property Report to help potential homeowners understand the risk of flooding at a property.
Recently, the city council updated the FloodWise Property Report with data from the February 2022 flood levels. This new flood information tool is designed with simpler language, better functionality over different types of devices, and more comprehensive information.
It is important to get a flood report before you buy a home.
In this post, you’ll learn how to get your Floodwise report, review it and understand the risks of buying a property in a flood zone.
Let’s get started…
Table of Contents
Get Floodwise Report
FloodWise Property Report is based on information from the Brisbane City Council and models potential flooding risk based on the latest computer modelling.
To get the report, fill in your property’s details including suburb, street name and number into the Brisbane City Council Website. If you are in the Moreton Bay Region, you can also check the Moreton Bay Flood Check Report.
Warning: After the council’s review in 2016 and the data from the 2022 flood, the Brisbane City Council changed their criteria, so some properties that did not flood in 2011 or 2013 could now carry a ‘very high risk’ rating because of the potential insurance risks…
Reviewing Floodwise Report
The flood levels shown in the FloodWise Property Report are based on the council’s predictive models and realistically can occur in any year.
Your flood report will contain lots of information to help you understand the following:
- flooding risk, including flood planning areas for river water and overland flow,
- hazards from coastal flooding,
- historic flood levels from Brisbane’s 2011 floods,
- any other sources of water and flooding and minimum
- maximum habitat levels.
We’ll run through an example Floodwise Property report for 31 Cordova Street Milton.
When Reviewing your FloodWise Property Report Check:
If your property hasn’t been affected by flooding, the report will not show some of the below sections.
1. Are the property details correct?
Pretty self-explanatory, just want to make sure you’re looking at the right place!
2. Flood Level Information
This shows where your property is placed compared to today’s minimum habitat flood level, where the January 2011 flood occurred and your chances of being flooded in any year.
The chances of being flooded are based on Annual Expedient Probability (AEP), in other words, the chances of being flooded in a year.
Another way this is expressed is 1:100 which is saying that 1 in every 100 years it is expected the property will flood.
As you can see with this property, the chances are fairly high based on the council’s estimate of the property’s ground level.
3. Technical Summary
The technical part of the FloodWise Report contains much more detail and has been created for builders, architects and engineers to take into consideration when building a new property.
Maps on the FloodCheck website can also show previous floods, like the Brisbane 2011 flood.
4. Estimated Peak Flooding Levels
The estimated peak flood levels again are mostly made for builders, architects and engineers to ensure any new properties constructed are built around the current planning scheme requirements.
5. Flood Overlay Code
This section of the flood report details the specific type of flooding your property has been affected by, for example, this property is affected by FPA2a, FPA2b FPA4 and FPA5.
This means that flooding is likely to be deep and moderate fast-moving water. So, in the worst case scenario, if you ever had to rebuild the home, it would need to be constructed on stumps.
Using Flood Awareness Map in Brisbane
In addition to the latest data from the Brisbane River Catchment Flood Study and Perrin Creek and Moggill Creek flood studies, the newly updated Flood Awareness Map was made using the following information:
- 21 Hydrology models,
- 21 hydraulic models
- 1100 ground surveys.
- Surveys were also conducted at more than 550 locations
- gauges in more than 450 locations were inspected.
- surveyors recorded debris from 90 locations.
As you see, they did a pretty thorough job!
It breaks down the varying likelihood of flooding on your property, ranging from a high likelihood of 5% to a very low likelihood of a 0.05% chance of flooding occurring in any year.
- Very low likelihood (0.05% Annual Chance)
- Low likelihood (0.20% Annual Chance)
- Medium likelihood (1.00% Annual Chance)
- Medium-High likelihood (2.00% Annual Chance)
- High likelihood (5.00% Annual Chance)
This map also shows the flood sources and historic floods.
Flood sources can help with insurance. Sometimes they will ask about the type of flood the property was affected by – river, creek, storm tide or overland flow.
Historic floods show the water levels that were reached in the January 2011 flood in Brisbane and the January 1974 flood.
Buying Property in a Flood Zone
You might have difficulty getting a home loan if you are looking at buying a home that is in a flood zone – but depending on your financial position, you might be able to still qualify for a loan.
The bank’s main concern is how often flooding happens. If your property is zoned to flood more than 1:100 or has a medium likelihood 1.0% annual chance of flooding the banks can struggle to give you a home loan.
How much can I borrow on a flood-affected property?
- Very low likelihood (0.05% Annual Chance): Up to 95% of the property value.
- Low likelihood (0.2% Annual Chance): Up to 95% of the property value.
- Medium likelihood (1.0% Annual Chance): Up to 95% of the property value.
- Medium-high likelihood (2.0% Annual Chance): Up to 80% of the property value on a case-by-case basis
- High likelihood (5.0% Annual Chance): In most cases, we are unable to assist with finance on these properties.
Lenders can be more conservative on heavily flood-affected properties, so if your annual chance is 2% or more, we may need to get additional council records of a valuation report to make sure the lender can approve your loan.
Are there extra requirements from the banks for flooded properties in Brisbane?
Depending on the severity of flooding on the property, the banks can ask for some more information than normal including:
- You need to hold council approval if you are building on the property, or there needs to be an existing house on the land.
- You need to be able to get home & contents insurance on the home
- The maximum height that flooding can reach needs to be under the floor level of the house.
- The bank will need a valuation completed, and their valuer must determine the property is not too risky for the bank.
We have helped customers get home loans approved based on a flood of 1:50 years, or a 2.0% annual chance. If you have enough deposit and can meet the above requirements, we may be able to negotiate a loan for you. You could also use it as a chance to negotiate a lower price with the real estate agent!
Flood Zones Brisbane
Almost 20% of Brisbane’s suburbs were affected in the 2011 flood, so understanding where the flood zones in Brisbane are is critical when buying a home.
A large portion of these areas are in lower areas, near the Brisbane River or creeks and include:
Flood Affected Suburbs in Brisbane
Fig Tree Pocket
Seventeen Mile Rocks
Flood Terms to Understand
There are 4 main types of flooding that occur in Brisbane, ranging from river flooding all the way to storm tide flooding.
- River Flooding happens when there is extended rainfall over the Brisbane river catchments, causing high amounts of water to rise and flow over the banks Interestingly, River flooding downstream can happen several days after the rain has stopped!
- Creek Flooding is caused by heavy rainfall but in creek catchments. More often than not it flows very quickly and can cause flash flooding in very short periods around creeks and waterways.
- Local overland flow is localised flooding and the most common type of flooding in Brisbane. It happens when water runs across the ground and paths after heavy rain and can occur really quickly. It is sometimes unpredictable as it can be affected by urban structures like fences and walls.
- Storm tide flooding happens when winds from a storm push the ocean towards the land causing much higher than normal sea levels. The major risk from a storm tide or storm surge is increased during high tides and generally affects lower-lying areas close to shores and other waterways.
Flood Insurance Requirements
Your bank will need you to have home and contents insurance against your property, and it must specifically cover you for the risk of flooding. If you do not have the correct flood insurance cover, you can risk having your home loan declined.
Several insurance providers like Allianz and NRMA can offer flood insurance covering:
- Overland flow caused by high rainfall and nearby rivers
- Flooding caused by overflowing rivers and dams
- Sea level flooding caused by storms
The biggest difference between insurance providers is how they define storm and water damage, so chat to them about what policy will best suit you.
Dealing With Flood Damage
During the Brisbane Floods of 2011, some of our client’s homes were flooded in New Farm. Unfortunately for them, water entered the house in lots of different ways, but the worst part was not the water but the muck and mud that was left behind once the flood receded.
In our client’s case, and most cases with flooded property in Brisbane a horrible smell was left from the mud and muck and the majority of the homes’ floors, internal walls (including plasterboard) and carpet had to be removed.
The flooding also destroyed some of their electrical and plumbing services, so they needed a brand new hot water system and the property rewired before moving back in.
Fortunately, they had insurance cover to protect them, but it took a substantial amount of work to get the home to be livable again.
As we said before, it’s worth considering the likelihood of your home flooding and the implications before going ahead.
What to Consider Before Buying Flood-Affected Property
While you might be able to get a cheaper property that has been flooded in the past, it’s worth asking a few more questions before signing the contract of sale including:
- Can you get home, contents and flood insurance cover on the property?
- What do the insurance premiums now cost?
- How bad was the previous flooding damage on the property?
- What have they done to the property post-flooding damage?
- Was the property affected by river flooding or stormwater flooding?
- Will your bank approve finance on the property? Also, ask your mortgage broker to get a valuation upfront
The owners of the property you want to buy may have followed the FloodWise Flood Resilient Homes Program, which has been designed to help people from Australia prepare, live through and return to normality after a flood.
Resources to Keep Up to Date With Flood Warnings
Floods can cause devastation to public transport and roads for months after an event. After the 2022 Brisbane flood, the government said it could take weeks to get the ferry network back online.
If you do get impacted by a flood, its best to keep up to date with the latest updates and timetables from the government services:
Bonus: Using FloodCheck Queensland Map
Over the years and throughout multiple floods, Brisbane wasn’t the only area affected in Queensland. There were major flood warnings for Ipswich, Logan, Brisbane and Gympie.
In 2022 Gympic recorded its highest flood in a century, affecting up to 3,600 homes.
You can use FloodCheck Queensland to see if a property has been affected across the state.
It gives useful map overlays like the 2012 flood imagery and information on the Brisbane Ipswich floods of 1974.
For more information, visit – https://floodcheck.information.qld.gov.au/
Bonus: Brisbane Flood Statistics: 2011 vs. 2022
Total properties affected
Brisbane river flood peak
Speak to Our Team of Experts Today
We are experts in getting home loans approved, and work with several banks that can accept your home for a loan.
If you would like to chat about buying a home in a flood zone and need finance, speak with one of our experienced mortgage brokers to walk through the next steps with you.
At Hunter Galloway, we help home buyers purchase properties that are in the flood zone. We also help you get ahead in this competitive market by giving you the actual strategies that have helped other homebuyers like you secure a property when there have been 5 other offers on the table!
Enquire online or give us a call on 1300 088 065.
Further flood report resources:
- Floodwise Property Report by Brisbane City Council
- FloodcheckMap for Brisbane
- Flood Resilient Homes Program by Brisbane City Council
Ready to take the next step toward buying? We’re happy to help. Schedule a call today with a Home Loan Expert from Hunter Galloway, the home of home buyers.