Thumbnail for the blog: How to check if a property is flood affected in Brisbane?
30 August 2022

Hi, Sam Price here from Templeton Property and today I’d like to discuss – How to check if a property is flood affected in Brisbane?

Look at any map of Brisbane as you can see the Brisbane River winding its way through the landscape from Ipswich to the west, to Moreton Bay to the east. Brisbane has been flooded many times over the centuries, with the most devasting in recent history being in 1974, 2011 and more recently in 2022. The loss of life and property during these events has been tragic and with the changing environment we are experiencing, one can only wonder if we’ll see even more flooding in the future.


How much of Brisbane is flood affected?

The February 2022 floods inundated 23,400 homes and business in 177 suburbs, almost double the impact of the 2011 floods.

Aerial map of Brisbane Flood 2022.

How to check if a property is flood affected in Brisbane?

For every property we consider purchasing for our Brisbane Buyer’s Agency clients, we undertake a search of the Flood Awareness Map and the FloodWise Property Report from the Brisbane City Council. Keep in mind if you are looking to purchase property in other council areas, many also offer a similar online service.

We always start with the Flood Awareness Map which gives us an overview of the flooding in the area and after that then we zoom in to focus on the particular property we are researching.

Flood Awareness Maps

This map allows us to see the extent of the flooding in the local vicinity as well as the likelihood of the property we are researching being flood affected.

Button to launch the interactive flood awareness maps.

Example of how to enter the street address to do a Brisbane flood search.

Example of suburb flood map for Paddington Brisbane showing the flooded area.

Note: If you relied on the FloodWise Property Report alone, whist the property you are considering may not be flood affected, the property next door may be flood prone and you wouldn’t be aware of this unless you looked at the map. We find this is often the case with Overland Flow, that can finish at a property boundary. Also, with the changes to the flood levels over recent years, a property that is not flood affected today could become included in the flood zone in the future, so knowing the distance for the flood line can be helpful and act as a theoretical buffer.

You can change the legend to show the Flood Sources.

Example of map of flood source in Paddington Brisbane. This photo shows that you can change the legend of the map.

It can also show the Historic Flood applicable to that area.

Map of flooding of Paddington Brisbane in 2011.

The Flood Awareness Map also allows you to connect directly to the FloodWise Property report for the specific property you are researching.

Map of Nash Street, Paddington Brisbane flooding in 2011. The interactive mapping allows you to link directly to the flood wise property report.

The Flood Wise Property Report

The Flood Wise Property Report provides a more detailed review of the extent of the flooding over a specific property, by providing ground levels and flood levels in a clear and concise manner. These figures are based on the Brisbane City Council’s flood modelling and do change as their models are recalibrated. Therefore, it’s wise to always do a new search each time you are reviewing a property, just in case the result has changed, and the property is newly classified as flood being affected.

The green coloured line and the levels at either end are the land levels (heights) of the property. The upper level in this example is 5.4 indicates that the highest point of the allotment is 5.4m AHD and the lowest point of the allotment is 4.5m AHD (above see level).  Therefore, the block has a .9 m variation from the highest to the lowest point. Comparing these heights to the flood level heights provided e.g., Jan 2011 height of 6.1m AHD indicates that the whole of the allotment is recorded as being flood affected in the floods of 2011.

Example Floodwise Property report for a Paddington Brisbane Property. I

The percentage provided is the % chance of a flood event to that level in any one year. In this case, there is a 1% chance of a 6.3m flood in any one year.

Technical Summary Details

The FloodWise Property Report also provides a Technical Summary for the use of surveyors, builders, architects, and engineers etc. This is used when they are designing a new house or renovation. The search also provides the main source of the flooding for example River, Overland Flow etc.

Example Floodwise Property report showing property information and flood levels for Paddington Brisbane Property.

Flood Overlay Code

The FloodWise Property Report also provides reference to the applicable Brisbane City Council Flood Overlay Code.

Example Floodwise Property report showing flood overlay codes for Paddington Brisbane Property.

Brisbane City Council Definitions

River flooding: This is caused when widespread, prolonged rain falls over the Brisbane River catchment area causing high flows of water to rise and flow over our river’s banks. River flooding downstream can occur days after the rain has stopped.

Creek flooding: This is caused by heavy rainfall in the local catchments. It often flows quickly and can cause flash flooding within an hour of areas around creeks and waterways.

Local overland flow flooding: This is water that runs across the ground after heavy rain and occurs very quickly. This is the most common type of flooding in our city.

Storm tide flooding: This is caused when wind from a storm pushes the ocean towards land causing higher than normal sea levels. The risk from storm tide or storm surge is increased during times of high tidal flooding and affects low-lying areas close to tidal waterways and shores.

What do I need to do if my property is in a flood affected area?

Knowing this allows you to make smart decisions with regards to the risk and implications of being located in a flood prone area. You will firstly want to consider your risk profile, as whilst some people don’t mind at all and will deal with any flooding issues if and when they arise, other people may find this a constant worry and decide it best to sell the property and move to a non-flood affected property.

You may also find that your property wasn’t previously recorded as being flood affected, though with changes to the Brisbane City Council flood modelling, your property may now be located within a flood prone area and recorded as being flood affected.

Insurance is very important and of recent times, some insurance companies are either not providing insurance for properties located in flood affected areas or alternatively, are charging considerably higher premiums to provide flood cover. Investigating this prior to purchasing the property is very important as you don’t want to find out after you have purchased the property that the insurance premium is 3 times more than your previous property.

Also keep in mind that selling a flood prone property may be more difficult, especially when it has been flooded of recent times and selling a property soon after a flood could mean selling for well below what you purchased the property for and even perhaps, below what you owe on the property. It always pays to ask the question – How to check if a property is flood affected in Brisbane? and know the answer.

Special Reminder

Once you have signed a contract to purchase a property in Queensland, the property is at your risk from 5pm on the first business day after the contract is dated. That means that it is essential that you arrange building insurance for the property straight after the contract is agreed upon and signed by both parties. This is to insure the property from damage caused by fire, flood etc. during the contract period, even prior to the property going unconditional or settling.

Extract of section 8.1 REIQ Queensland contract of sale rights and Obligations Until Settlement.

Do Buyer’s Agent purchase flood affect properties?

As a general policy, we avoid property that is flood affected and we always undertake a Flood Wise Property Search on every property we consider for purchase. The only times we have purchased a property that is flood affected is when the owner has been made fully aware of the nature and extent of the flood levels and is happy to weight up this risk versus the benefit. Most commonly this is for properties with frontage to the Brisbane River, such as prestige homes or apartments and properties backing onto creeks where the amenity of the property exceeds the flood consideration.

However, for the average home buyer or investor, we avoid flood affected properties.

If you would like to chat about buying a property and flood zones or to discuss How to check if a property is flood affected in Brisbane? please don’t hesitate to contact us at your convenience.

Links to searches:

Have a property related question you would like answered?

If you are considering purchasing a property in Brisbane or South East Queensland and would like the assistance of an experienced Brisbane Buyer’s Agent that can help you find the perfect property, that meets all your requirements for the right price, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Feel free to contact us via email or call 0418 159 993 to speak to me directly.

We look forward to hearing from you.
Sam Price, Buyer’s Agent and Director – Templeton Property.

Sam Price

About Sam Price

Sam Price is Director and lead Buyer's Agent at Templeton Property. He has been helping client's purchase their ideal home and investment properties for over 15 years. He is a Registered Property Valuer and his qualifications include a Bachelor of Business (Property Studies), Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning and a Masters is Professional Accounting. Sam is married and has 2 school aged girls who keep his life very exciting.