Millions of Australian homes at risk of natural disasters


Fast five:

  • 5.6 million Australian homes (almost half of all properties) are at risk of bushfire, with an estimated value of $4.66 trillion.
  • NSW has the highest number of homes at risk, with 1.9 million homes valued at $2 trillion.
  • 8.1% of Australia’s 11.7 million residential properties are at risk of flood, with an estimated value of $768.5 billion.
  • Queensland has the highest number of homes at risk of flood, with 344,453 homes valued at $282.9 billion.
  • About 160,000 Australian homes are located within 150m of the coastline, with about 1 in 10 at risk of coastal erosion.

Almost half of Australian homes are at risk of bushfire, while 8.1 per cent face flood threats, according to new research from Domain.

The 2024 Perils Report, also showed one in 10 homes are at risk of coastal erosion.

The first of its kind report, launched at the inaugural Future Housing Forum at Parliament House in Sydney today, analyses every property in Australia.

The researched showed 5.6 million Australian homes are at risk of bushfire, which equates to almost half of all properties, with an estimated value of $4.66 trillion.

NSW has the highest number of homes at risk, with 1.9 million homes, valued, at $2 trillion, facing bushfire threats.

This is followed by Queensland (1.6 million homes valued at $1.28 trillion) and Victoria (763,000 homes valued at $592.3 billion).

Despite the high numbers in NSW, the proportion of homes at risk of bushfire is 52.4 per cent, which is well down on Tasmania’s 75.4 per cent and Queensland’s 66.5 per cent.

With each increase in bushfire risk rating, the property value decreases by 2 per cent, according to the analysis, with buyers increasingly aware of the heightened risk.

Domain Chief of Research and Economics, Dr Nicola Powell, said the report highlighted just how at-risk Australian communities were and that we all have a role to play in making a change. 

“We all remember the dark days of Black Summer in 2019/20 and the fatal bush fires that engulfed so much of our country,” she said.

“Our report shows that there are 5.6 million Australian homes at risk of bushfire, which is almost half of all properties,” Dr Powell said. 

“The unfortunate reality of this is that as the risk of bushfires increases, the value of these homes decreases.

“On top of this, Queensland has the highest proportion of at-risk properties when it comes to flooding, while NSW faces the largest expected losses in property damage coming in at over half a billion dollars per year. 

“Despite this, there persists a concerning trend of continued construction and residential development in flood-prone zones. 

“Whilst these findings are alarming, the report shows there is opportunity for change.”

The analysis also revealed Australia faces an increasingly pressing challenge with flooding, exacerbated by climate change-induced severe weather patterns. 

About 8.1 per cent of Australia’s 11.7 million residential properties are at risk of flood, with an estimated value of $768.5 billion. 

The larger states have the most homes at risk of flood, with Queensland most under threat with 344,453 homes valued at $282.9 billion.

This is followed by NSW, with 288,878 homes valued at $256 billion, and Victoria, with 197,342 homes valued at $147.1 billion.

The most at risk locations of an annual, 50cm flood, include Ballina at 3.9 per cent, Tweed Heads South at 3.7 per cent, Grafton at 2.7 per cent, Coonamble at 2.3 per cent, and Tweed Heads at 2.2 per cent. 

For each percentage point increase in the chance of a 1m flood, the property value decreases by 1.1 per cent. 

The deeper the flood, the greater the negative influence on price.

Domain Chief Executive Officer, Jason Pellegrino, said Australia needed to do more to build viable, liveable communities as the climate changes.

“Australians are struggling,” he said.

“Affordable housing is becoming increasingly inaccessible, we have unprecedented cost of living pressures, and we are seeing more consistent and extreme weather events which are significantly devaluing our homes.

“Of greatest concern, is that many Australians are living on land facing peril in order to have a place to call home. 

“Alarmingly, our own research shows that only 29 per cent of Australians know about their property’s risk of being impacted by a natural disaster and some 20 per cent know where to go to seek information about these risks. 

“The 2024 Perils Report shows we need to ensure all Australians have a place to call home without fear of it being gone tomorrow. 

“While the research shows that 80 per cent of Australians believe the government should be responsible for providing information about a property’s risk from natural disasters, each of us have a unique role to play in tackling these complex issues — be it government, banks, insurers and industry.”

The study also revealed about 160,000 Australian homes are located within 150m of the coastline, and about one in 10 are at risk of coastal erosion. 

This is an estimated $26.41 billion worth of homes at risk nationwide.

Queensland has the most properties at risk of erosion, with 7699 valued at $11.26 billion, followed by NSW with 4254 homes valued at $9.42 billion. 

When the analysis reveals that susceptibility to shoreline erosion does not significantly

impact property values, indicating that buyers may prioritise location and views over long-term erosion risks.

While buyers may consider risk soon after an erosion event, there was a minimal overall effect on property prices over the long term. 

If the property is the first from the coastline, the value increases by 20.4 per cent and for every 10m away from the coastline, the property value drops by 2.6 per cent.

The Northern Territory has the highest proportion of homes at ‘high’ or ‘very high’

risk, with 13.5 per cent of the state’s coastal properties falling into the two highest risk ratings, followed by Tasmania (8.6 per cent), South Australia (7.6 per cent) and Queensland (at 6.7 per cent).

Mr Pellegrino said that conversations about the housing and climate crisis need to stop happening in isolation because they can’t be solved alone and that’s why Domain had brought key stakeholders together at the Future Housing Forum. 

“Ultimately, we all bear the collective responsibility for our future, and this is all about starting a conversation on how to better use land,” Mr Pellegrino said.



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