How 2011 Floods Affected Brisbane Property Investment

A Property Management & Buying Overview

January 2011, the start of a new decade for Brisbane, has resulted in the biggest flood disaster in over three decades. More than 15,000 properties in over 67 suburbs were either completely or partially flooded during the events of January 8-14, 2011. Even though the water level did not reach the peaks of the 1974 floods, many consider the 2011 flooding to be more catastrophic due to the vast number of properties that have been constructed since the 1970’s. The waters have dramatically affected the Toowoomba region and the Lockyer Valley all the way through to Ipswich and then at the end of the line, Brisbane. King tides, heavy rain falls and releases from Wivenhoe Dam have all combined to make this one of the biggest natural disasters in Queensland’s history.

The height of the Brisbane River rose as high as 12 metres in certain parts of Brisbane’s western suburbs. This has heavily impacted on properties that are low lying and especially those with river frontage. Many properties have gone completely under water, some partially flooded, and others still, high enough to go without affect.

The big question on everyone’s lips is: How is this going to impact the rental and property market in the flood affected areas, the non-flood affected areas and the entire Brisbane market. To fully answer this we need to look at the impact of the floods.

The clean-up and rebuild in the flooded areas is expected to take up to 2 years before everything is back to as it was. This is due to the vast number of homes that will require electrical inspections, new landscaping, new carpets, new walls, re-laying of floors, new ceilings and for a lot of properties, demolition and re-build. So without question this is going to have a huge effect on the property market. Properties that were for sale in the flooded areas will have to be withdrawn while the repairs take place. The demand for properties that are in the flooded areas will reduce as people look to areas above flood plains and while the memory of the damage is current in people’s minds.

How will this impact the price, well it will surely have a negative effect, but for how long? If we look at the property market just after the 1974 floods, there was a drop in Brisbane’s housing prices for 5 years before growth started to take place. Now was this due to the impact of the floods or just the economy in general? Well the property market in Sydney and Melbourne from 1974 through to 1978 also had a drop in property prices over that time. So from this, we can assume that the negative property prices in Brisbane during this time was not as a direct result from the floods, but the general Australian economy and market fluctuations. Given that the re-build of properties in the affected areas could take up to 2 years, it could be considered that this would be the timeframe that property in these areas will be negatively affected. However there is the potential for this to extend further given that the flooding memories don’t generally disappear that quickly. This has affected the brisbane buyers agent business very much.

The majority of suburbs that have been affected are those that run along the Brisbane River and are considered to be prestige suburbs. This decreased the opportunities for investment property agent brisbane. The demand in these areas has historically been quite high and the location close to the CBD, transport and shopping facilities, is what entices people. From my experience in the property market over the past 10-12 years, these areas will continue to be in demand long term, but in the short-term, may be stifled. There could be potential to secure some excellent prices of property in these areas due to the negative press they will be getting from the floods.

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