Severe weather can damage your property in various ways. Windy weather can dislodge roof tiles and crack windows. Freezing temperatures can result in frozen pipes, while excessive heat can cause cracks in ceilings and walls. In addition, if your property is at risk of flooding, obtaining a mortgage can be challenging.
Buying a house in an area where there’s a high risk of weather damage may make it more difficult to qualify for a mortgage. That’s why it’s important to speak to a whole-of-market mortgage broker who can compare mortgages to find out which providers are more likely to lend on properties which are at greater risk of climate damage.
According to UK Climate Risk, new builds and flats are some of the worst-affected property types when it comes to weather damage. Newly built homes are prone to overheating, while flats on high floors can be warmer due to a lack of shade from trees.
Therefore, our mortgage experts have analysed the temperature, wind speed, flooding risk, and the number of new builds and flats in each local authority. With this data, we’ll reveal the areas where properties are most vulnerable to weather damage.
Homes in Canterbury are most at risk of being affected by weather extremes. Canterbury is one of the most vulnerable areas for flooding, with 9.91% of properties identified as at risk of greater than 1%. Properties in the city are also prone to overheating, with temperatures during the hottest month reaching 6% higher than the country’s average. Due to its proximity to the coast, wind speeds in Canterbury reach up to 28.1 kph on the windiest day of the year.
Folkestone and Hythe, also located in Kent, comes in second place. Around 7.65% of properties in Folkestone and Hythe are at a greater than 1% risk of flooding. In some cases, this can make it more difficult to get affordable home insurance cover or a mortgage. Temperatures during the hottest month are around 5% hotter than England’s average, making homes vulnerable to overheating. What’s more, 25.8% of properties in the district are flats or maisonettes, which carry an increased risk of overheating. The Kent district is also windier than most areas in England, with wind speeds reaching 29.4 kph on the windiest day.
Living in North Norfolk could mean your property is at an increased risk of damage from climate and weather extremes. Temperatures in North Norfolk reach around 6% higher than England’s average during the warmest month of the year. North Norfolk is also windier than most areas in England, with wind speeds reaching 28.1 kph on the year’s windiest day.
South Lakeland comes in joint third place as one of the most at-risk areas for climate damage. In South Lakeland, 14.19% of properties are at risk of flooding greater than 1% - higher than most other areas in the country. South Lakeland is also around 29% colder than England’s average temperature during the coldest month of the year, putting properties at risk of cold damage.
Buying a house in Cheshire West and Chester may put your property at a reduced risk of climate damage than settling down in other parts of the country. Just 0.47% of properties are at a greater than 1% risk of flooding. Temperatures in the area are around 2% cooler than average during the hottest month, and 4% warmer than average during the coldest month, protecting properties from temperature extremes.
Halton, just north of Cheshire West and Chester, is one of the least at-risk areas in terms of weather damage to properties. Only 0.75% of properties in the area are identified as being at a risk of flooding greater than 1%. Temperatures in Halton are 6% cooler than average in the hottest month, meaning properties are at a reduced risk of overheating.
St. Helens ranks as one of the best places to live for those concerned about extreme weather damaging their home. Around 0.64% of properties are at a greater than 1% risk of flooding, and temperatures are 4% cooler than average during the warmest month.
The area where your property is most at risk of flooding in England | South Holland: 52% of properties at >1% risk
South Holland, in Lincolnshire, is the area where your property is most at risk of flooding. Over half of the properties in the district, which covers Spalding, Crowland, Holbeach and Long Sutton, have a flood risk greater than 1%.Coastal flooding is often caused by storms, a high tide, heavy rain or the bursting of river banks.
The area where your property is most likely to overheat in England | Broxbourne: 24% warmer than average
Broxbourne is the hottest area in England, with temperatures reaching 24% higher than the country’s average during the warmest month. Homes in the Hertfordshire parish could experience worsening cracks, fading paint and a weakened roof as a result of excess heat. It’s a good idea to open windows, increase ventilation and regularly maintain worn surfaces or cracks in your home if you live in a hotter area.
The coldest area in England | High Peak: 42% colder than average
High Peak, in Derbyshire, is the coldest area in England. Temperatures in High Peak during the coldest month of the year are around 42% colder than the country’s average. Cold weather can often cause property damage in the form of frozen pipes and boiler breakdowns. Most home insurance policies cover damage from frozen pipes, however, any damage caused by trying to fix them yourself may not be covered. You may also need boiler insurance if boiler breakdowns are not covered by your home insurance.
The windiest area in England | Isles of Scilly: 35.1 kph wind speed
The Isles of Scilly might be one of the most beautiful places to live in England, however, residents may be at increased risk of property damage from wind. On the windiest day of the year, wind speeds on the archipelago reach highs of 35.1 kph. It can be common to experience dislodged tiles, broken windows or damaged fences in windy areas.
The area with the most new builds in England | Woking: 8.3% of properties are new builds
Woking has the most new builds, with 8.3% of all properties in the borough being built between 2021 and 2022. New builds have been identified as being at a higher risk of overheating. Alongside this, most homes in England are designed to keep the heat in, meaning those in Woking could suffer property damage from heat.
The area with the most flats in England | London: 56.4% of properties are flats
As England’s busiest and most populated city, it’s no surprise that London has more flats and maisonettes than any other area. Just over half of all properties in the capital are flats, making them susceptible to overheating and storm damage.
Even if you live in a low-risk area, it’s always important to anticipate climate damage. Here are Money.co.uk’s top tips on how to best prevent your home from damage.
Firstly, make sure that you have the correct insurance to protect your home against floods. Fortunately, most buildings and contents insurance cover damage and repairs from flooding, however, it is always worth checking with your provider.
You can prepare the exterior of your home for flooding by avoiding laying tarmac or paving over your outdoor space, as this can prevent flood water from draining. You could also consider installing a rain barrel beneath one of your gutter system’s downspouts. Not only will this save you money on water bills, but every drop of water that is collected by the barrel is a drop less that could lead to flooding and property damage. Cleaning gutters, downspouts, splash pads and nearby drainage can also help reduce flood water coming into your home.
In a period of flooding in your local area, you can protect your property by moving valuables and important possessions to a higher floor or shelf to prevent water damage. The use of sandbags can also be an effective way to prevent or reduce flood water damage. If your house does flood, you should also ensure that all electricity in your house is switched off and electric devices are moved to higher floors.
You can protect your property from heat waves by creating areas of shade around your home by installing curtains or a pergola. A pallet pergola can help by creating outdoor shade while also facilitating air flow. It could also be beneficial to plant trees around your house. Trees and other plants help cool the environment by lowering surface and air temperatures while providing shade to your home. You can also build a deep or enclosed porch to create shady areas at the front of your home.
A low-cost way to protect your home from heat is by installing a window tint or film on your windows. This lowers the amount of heat that can enter your home.
Look out for the signs of heat damage affecting your home. High temperatures can lead to paint damage on your home’s exterior. Look out for bubbling, chipping, and flaking paint after a heatwave. If left unresolved, this exterior damage can create openings that lead to moisture and mould or damp problems inside your home. High heat can also lead to wood warping, discolouration or cracking. A latex wood filler can help to fix short cracks and treating decking with a sealant can prevent further damage.
In cold weather, you can insulate exposed pipes to prevent them from bursting or cracking due to low temperatures, as cracked pipes can be costly to repair. While foam or rubber sleeves can be attached to pipes to insulate them from cold weather, experts recommend heat tracing. A heat tracing system involves a series of paths that heat up electrically. Using a heat trace system can protect indoor pipes at risk of cracking, including those in cold rooms like attics and basements. It’s also a good idea to fill any cracks in your home that freezing air could enter through.
In cold, windy weather you can also clean your gutters regularly to prevent ice from forming and consider installing a gutter screen to help the flow of water. Cold weather can cause mould or dampness in your home. Reduce the effects of moisture damage by installing extractor fans, and dehumidifiers and by allowing air to circulate through your home, especially during winter.
You can protect your home from storms by repairing any broken or loose roof tiles to prevent these from becoming dislodged due to high-speed winds. If you tend to your roof regularly, this is a great preventative measure to ensure there are no loose or cracked tiles that could cause damage in the case of a storm. It can also help to fix cracked garden fences, as weakened fences are susceptible to wind damage. If you live in a particularly windy area it might also be a good idea to install storm window shutters. These protect your windows from high wind speeds and loose debris.
If you own your own home you will need home insurance. Home insurance covers loss, theft and damage to your property and personal possessions. However, if you rent your property, you likely won’t need home or buildings insurance as it’s your landlord’s responsibility to arrange structural repairs. For renters, contents insurance will protect your property and possessions from theft or damage. Contents insurance usually covers damage to your belongings caused by weather damage like floods, storms or heatwaves. Despite this, living close to water or in a high flood-risk area can increase your insurance premiums.
If you have a mortgage or own your home outright, and if you’re a landlord, you’ll usually need buildings insurance. A mortgage lender will normally require that you have buildings insurance from the moment you exchange contracts.
Landlord insurance is designed to protect and help landlords, against any unpredictable events including fire, flood, theft or vandalism. Landlord insurance also usually covers loss of rent from tenants.
Weather damage like flooding is usually covered in most building insurance policies, and most insurers will cover damage up to the rebuild value of your home. You might find it more expensive to get insurance when buying a house in an area considerably affected by climate change.
When buying a house it’s also a good idea to check if it is covered by Flood Re - a government initiative that helps homeowners in flood-prone areas access affordable home insurance.
UK Climate Risk identified new builds as being at an increased risk of overheating and damage from winds or storms. New builds are often designed to keep the heat in, to withstand cold winters, however, this could lead to cracked guttering or falling tiles. For many flats, ventilation is poor and they receive little to no shade from trees, making them associated with hotter temperatures.
If you’re in the market to buy a home, you might be considering how climate change will affect your new property. Although any area can be affected by climate change, in the form of heat, cold, winds and flooding, some areas carry a reduced risk of property damage.
Living in Cheshire West and Chester, Halton and St.Helens could be a good choice for those looking to avoid flooding and temperature damage. These areas have average temperatures cooler than the UK average during the warmest month of the year and all carry a low risk of residential flooding.
We ranked each local authority in England on the following factors, giving each a normalised score out of 10 for each factor before taking an average of these scores. Property factors, including new builds and flats, were given 0.25 weighting in our ranking.
Heat: We looked at how much the average temperature deviates from the UK average in the warmest month in the local authority’s biggest town or city between 1991 and 2021, according to Climate Data. To find the average warmest temperature in the UK we calculated an average using the warmest month’s average temperature of all the settlements that we looked at. For Cheshunt and Canvey Island, data was sourced from TckTckTck.org. For locations where the average temperature during the warmest month was colder than the UK average, this variation was recorded as 0% for our ranking.
Cold: We looked at how much the average temperature deviates from the UK average in the coldest month in the local authority’s biggest town or city between 1991 and 2021, according to Climate Data. To find the average coldest temperature in the UK we calculated an average using the coldest month’s average temperature of all the settlements that we looked at. For Cheshunt and Canvey Island, data was sourced from TckTckTck.org. For locations where the average temperature during the coldest month was warmer than the UK average, this variation was recorded as 0% for our ranking.
Floods: We sourced the percentage of properties at >1% risk of flooding in the local authority’s biggest town or city from the NAO’s managing flood risk – raw data files. Where data was unavailable the percentage of properties at >1% risk of flooding in the county was used. For Taunton, we used Taunton Deane.
Wind: The average wind speed on the windiest day in the local authority’s biggest town or city between 2014 and 2022, was sourced from Weather Spark. For Wroxham data was not available for the area's largest settlement so the figure for The Broads National Park which falls within the local authority was used.
We also looked at which areas have the most new build properties and flats, with new builds more likely to be better insulated for winter, but likely to overheat in extreme temperatures according to UK Climate Risk. We looked at flats in each location, with flats facing an increased risk of overheating compared to houses, according to Good Homes Alliance.
New builds: The number of newly built homes in the local authority in the last year as a percentage of total homes, was sourced from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government’s live tables on housing supply: indicators of new supply.
Flats: We looked at the percentage of properties listed as being flats/maisonettes in the Valuation Office Agency’s Council Tax: stock of properties, 2022. For Basingstoke we used Basingstoke and Deane, for Nuneaton we used Nuneaton and Bedworth and for Taunton, we used Taunton Deane.
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