We’re sorry, this feature is currently unavailable. We’re working to restore it. Please try again later.
Up to 1.6 million homes nationwide are at moderate or high risk now from climate change-related extreme weather, with the number forecast to increase by more than 60 per cent by 2050.
Some of the hardest-hit areas will be entire Sydney postcodes north and south of the Hawkesbury River where almost every property could be affected by 2050, while in Melbourne, up to 45 per cent of properties will be at high risk in Port Melbourne and about one in six in Albert Park.
More homeowners can expect to be affected by climate change as extreme weather events increase in frequency and severity.Credit:Michael Kirkman/Telegraph Point Community on Facebook.
Climate risk analysts Climate Valuation, who issue reports for potential home buyers and mortgage lenders about the risks facing residential properties, analysed 14.3 million addresses in Australia and found 1.6 million homes were already at moderate or high risk from climate change-related extreme weather.
That number is likely to rise to 2.6 million by 2050, Climate Valuation said, as frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as flooding in Lismore and Perth and bushfires in NSW in 2019 increase.
Areas further afield are also likely to be affected as there are significant numbers of high-risk properties in Shepparton, Surfers Paradise, Brisbane CBD and Wangaratta.
Climate Valuation chief executive Dr Karl Mallon said homeowners who once carried out only pest and building reports would have to add climate change hazard reports to their due diligence.
“What we’ve done is we’ve essentially looked at the risk from flooding, coastal inundation, fires and cyclones. That’s a review of all the properties we can find that we think are potentially at risk,” Mallon said.
“One in six people should be getting very, very focused on getting emissions down and the thing I find terrifying myself is we’re still building properties that are not fit for purpose.
“We’re allowing them to buy something that they don’t know the risk — buying properties they are unable to protect or insure. We shouldn’t be putting families in some of these properties.”
Mallon expects a $700 billion correction to the $9.7 trillion housing market driven by climate change. “People won’t be prepared to pay as much, or they’ll be worthless,” he said. “Look at Lismore — how much will they be worth now that they’re washed out?”
Meanwhile, about 20 per cent of all homes in Australia are in areas that are exposed to tree canopy cover, Mallon said, adding that the 2019 bushfires give homeowners a sense of what the future might hold.
“The big thing that has to happen from governments and property developers is we have to build these properties in either the right place or build them in a way to cope with the risks that are there,” he said.
Experts said there was a raft of measures homeowners, governments and property developers could invest in to make homes more climate resilient, including retrofitting and better planning of new housing developments.
Lismore’s floods are a warning bell for planners trying to avoid a similar event in Victoria.Credit:Natalie Grono
Natural Hazards Research Australia chief executive Andrew Gissing said it was important for homeowners to understand their risks to make risk-informed mitigation plans.
“Take floods for example … retrofitting of homes in regards to flood proofing them using building materials which will be able to suffer less damage from water inundating, using harder timbers and materials that are more resistant to water,” Gissing said.
“In areas of extreme heat, we can look at how we cool our suburbs more, through greening our suburbs, more heat-resilient building designs as well as energy efficiency and sustainability in those designs.”
RMIT’s School of Property, Construction and Project Management senior lecturer Dr Trivess Moore said it was important households were provided with tailored information about climate change risks to improve the quality of housing stock and better protect it.
Australia has had consecutive years of catastrophic weather events including the 2019 NSW bushfires.Credit:Amazon Prime
“Given the building and social costs, we need to be better prepared at mitigating and protecting. This is a really critical issue. We can’t have a large population who are under-insured,” Moore said.
“As we have more people moving from cities to regional areas, there may be a lot of people living in these riskier areas that don’t have that longer-term knowledge of managing the land and the property.
“It can also help push people to protect their property or lift the value of their properties across the community.”
A previous version of this story misstated the title of Andrew Gissing. He is the chief executive of Natural Hazards Research Australia.
Copyright © 2022