By Greg Giles, Lake Macquarie City Council

5 October 2012 – Letter: My attention has just been drawn to two stories you ran recently on the effect of flood and sea level rise warnings on property prices in Lake Macquarie. This is some additional information for your future reference.

See:

We have had a “Lake Flood and Sea Level Rise” notation on Section 149(2) certificates since June 2009. We have been monitoring property prices in the most affected areas since then, and have detected no change relative to the general market.

Despite the anecdotal evidence we hear from agents and owners, such as the ones you quote, the market evidence shows no effect. Of course, individual purchase decisions may depend on such factors, as they always have, and this may be the basis for the stories of lost sales, but this has not translated into a general trend.  More than half these waterfront properties have carried flood notations since at least 1997, and some since the 1970s.

This is a very sensitive issue, and has been causing lots of backlash against the perceived effects of council policy, and it is disappointing to see statements statements relating to prices that have “gone through the floor.”

I have attached a copy of a graph of property prices in Swansea compared to the general market in the Lake Macquarie local government area. If “prices have gone through the floor” you would expect to see a drop relative to the LGA sometime shortly after mid- 2009. There is no such change. More than 80 per cent of properties in Swansea have a flood/sea level rise notation.

We have looked at similar data from other vulnerable areas – Marks Point, Dora Creek, Pelican, Blacksmiths and the pattern is the same – no change relative to the LGA. The data and analysis comes direct from the EAC RedSquare industry database.

Greg Giles is senior sustainability officer (climate change adaptation)

Lake Macquarie City Council

Note – Our sources in the Lake Macquarie region were agents; at Belongil Beach near Byron Bay the NSW Valuer General is understood to have discounted beachfront values by about 50 per cent on average, according to news reports.