The National Association of Estate Agents report has batted away an idea which has been resuscitated by the insurance industry, suggesting property listings from agents and portals should include ‘traffic light’ flood warning symbols.
The Association of British Insurers has relaunched a proposal made initially last year - and echoing a similar idea from 2007 - that prospective buyers should be told explicitly the potential risks to specific properties in certain areas.
“Advertisements carry a wealth of information on everything from local schools to a property’s energy efficiency rating. Easily available information about the flood risk of the area is a glaring omission which needs to be put right” claims James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI.
He suggests the ratings would not affect the cost of insuring the house, which would be ascertained by existing insurance industry methods. But he says the warning system is necessary because his association’s research shows that only 28 per cent of buyers research flood risk before purchasing, whereas 33 per cent research issues such as council tax bills and parking arrangements.
However, the National Association of Estate Agents managing director Mark Hayward says buyers already have access to information such as the Environment Agency flood maps.
"Our concern is that by using a simple traffic light system with only three options, buyers might dismiss properties without looking at them properly, and fully assessing the risk. The ABI are taking a blanket, rather than a specific, approach to this matter, which could have huge implications for sellers and buyers further down the line" says Hayward.
The Environment Agency says some 2.4m properties are at risk of river or coastal flooding.