The FloodWise Property Report is a free service provided by the Brisbane City Council which helps potential homeowners understand the risk of flooding at a property.
Did you know over 20% of Brisbane’s suburbs were affected by floods in 2011?
Brisbane itself has been built on a floodplain, with 94 suburbs across the city experiencing flooding in 2011 it is important to get a flood report before you buy a home.
In this post, you’re going to 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…
- 1. Get Floodwise Report
- 2. Reviewing Floodwise Property Report
- 3. Flood Awareness Map in Brisbane
- 4. Buying property in flood zone
- 5. Flood Zones Brisbane
- 6. Flood terms to understand
- 7. Flood insurance requirements
- 8. Dealing with Flood Damage
- 9. What to consider before buying flood affected property
- Bonus: Brisbane flood statistics
1. 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.
Warning: After the council’s review in 2016 the Brisbane City Council has 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…
2. Reviewing Floodwise Property 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 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 and maximum habitat levels.
When reviewing your FloodWise Property Report check:
If your property hasn’t been flooding affected the report will not show some of these sections.
1. Correct address and details are noted on the front
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 Peek 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 FPA3, FPA4 and FPA5.
This means that flooding is likely to be deep and moderate fast moving water, so if you ever had to rebuild the home it would need to be constructed on sumps being the worst case scenario.
3. Using Flood Awareness Map in Brisbane
The Flood Awareness Map includes the latest data from the Brisbane River Catchment Flood Study, and Perrin Creek and Moggil Creek flood studies.
It breakdown the varying likelihood of flooding on your property, ranging from a high likelihood to a very low likelihood being a 5.0% chance down to 0.05% chance of occurring in any year.
Another way of looking at this is that 5 in every 100 years the property is expected to flood, put another way 1 in every 20 years the property is very likely to flood.
- 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 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.
4. Buying property in 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 the flooding happens if your property is zoned to flood more than 1:100 or has a medium likelihood 1.0% annual chance in flood 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 2.0% annual chance provided you have enough deposit and can meet these requirements. You could also use it as a chance to negotiate a lower price with the real estate agent!
5. 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
6. 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 are is extended rainfall across Brisbane catchments, causing high amounts of water to rise and flow over the Brisbane river. Shockingly River flooding downstream can happen several days after the rain has stopped.
- Creek Flooding is caused by heavy rainfall but in local 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 ground and paths after heavy rain and can occur really quickly.
- 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.
7. Flood insurance requirements
Your bank will need you to have home and contents insurance against your property and 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.
8. 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 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 liable again so it’s worth considering the likelihood of your home flooding and the implications before going ahead.
9. 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:
- ✅ If you can get home, contents and flood insurance over on the property?
- ✅ What the insurance premiums now cost?
- ✅ How bad the previous flooding damage was on the property?
- ✅ What have they done to the property post flooding damage?
- ✅ If the property was affected by river flooding or stormwater flooding?
- ✅ If your bank can approve finance on the property, asking your mortgage broker to get a valuation up front
The new owners 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.
Bonus: Brisbane flood statistics
The Brisbane floods in 2011 were tragic, with more than $440 million spent on recovery efforts and a shocking 400,000 tonnes of flood waste removed from the city but we have a few interesting numbers from Brisbane Times feature:
- 🌊 Flood waters in Brisbane peaked at 4.46m on January 13 2011
- 🌊 24,696 properties completely or partially flooded in areas built up before 1978
- 🌊 19,786 were residential properties
- 🌊 5.1 per cent if the whole area of the city of Brisbane was flood affected
- 🌊 94 Brisbane suburbs were affected by floodwater
- 🌊 Approximately 12,000 people accommodated in evacuation centres
- 🌊 More than 200,000 people affected
- 🌊 56,200 insurance claims at $2.55 billion
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 get ahead in this competitive market, purchase properties that are in the flood zone and we give you the actual strategies that have helped other home buyers 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: