1.7 million homes are believed to be at risk from river or coastal flooding in England and could see their market value drop by as much as 40 percent as a result, according to a report issued today by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

The results of the survey of property valuers across the country showed that most would mark down a property subject to flooding by about 12-15 percent, and that some suggested a figure of up to 40 percent.

Flooding is becoming a growing concern for homeowners and communities thanks to the increasing frequency of disasters such as Boscastle earlier this year.

Now RICS says that 1.7 million homes and 130,000 commercial properties worth over £200 billion are at risk from river or coastal flooding in England, with many more properties also at risk from flash floods.

According to the report, the two primary causes are climate change, resulting in increased severity and intensity of rainfall, and new developments on floodplains which are themselves at risk of flooding, and which increase the risk of flooding downstream.

Flooding specialist surveyor and RICS spokesman David Brooks said: ‘Valuations will depend on market perceptions of how long it will take to sell vulnerable properties, how much they are likely to be in demand, and how easy it is for people to insure them and secure a mortgage.

‘Obviously, individuality and desirability are key factors. If someone puts a particularly picturesque cottage on the market it may be that the buyer will overlook the fact that it is on the river bank, or may even pay a premium for that location if that is what they specifically want.’

RICS