Sunday, 16 March 2014

Expect ‘Flood of Changes’ to CML Handbook in line with consumer concerns

This winter’s rains and flooding have pushed floods to the forefront of consumer concerns when buying a home. In a recent BSA survey, half of those polled said that the risk a property might flood was an extremely important consideration, higher than the more traditional factors of a property’s location (49%) and neighbourhood (44%).

This concern stands in contrast from what I’ve taken away from recent conversations with search companies which indicate that flood searches are only being carried out in about 50% of conveyancing transactions. Whilst there is no specific requirements in the CML Handbook or BSA Mortgage Instructions to carry out flood searches, the winter’s harsh reality and consumer sentiment lead my to expect lenders will start making changes in the near future.

Some of the more recent changes - such as the HSBC change relating to Japanese Knotweed - are driven by new factors that can impact the resale value of the property.

The  BSA survey showed a significant variation in view between different types of buyers. For example, the risk of flooding was of less importance to first-time buyers, with just 30% saying it was extremely important. Instead, off-street parking, transport links and a garden were all rated as more important. Of course from a lender’s perspective they wish to cater for all potential buyers and therefore the motivation to make changes is high.

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