New research out today (9 December) from Flood Re, the not-for-profit, joint initiative between government and the insurance industry, shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed what people are looking for when it comes to a new home.

More than half of UK adults (55%) are looking to move home at some point in the near future, with over a quarter (28%) looking to move in the next three years. The research shines a light on the way in which the pandemic has changed peoples’ priorities – two-fifths (39%) of home movers say the virus has impacted their decision to move in some way, affecting their financial circumstances (26%), working circumstances (23%) or their housing priorities (36%).

With the ongoing pandemic spurring many to move home, the research has highlighted how important flood risk is to those looking to move. Four in five (80%) people believe it is an important consideration and it would make them less likely to buy or rent a property.

That is why, alongside this research, Flood Re is today publishing a report backing the introduction of Flood Performance Certificates (FPC) at the point of sale or rent of a property that could encourage more people to install property flood resilience measures and mitigate against future flood risk.

The overwhelming majority of prospective home movers back the introduction of a Flood Performance Certificate, with 81% of people supporting the idea.

Much like an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), the FPC would provide prospective buyers and renters with a clear overview of the flood risk posed to the property, including information on what measures have already been taken to protect the property from flooding and explaining what actions needs to be taken in order to further reduce that risk.

Andy Bord, Chief Executive of Flood Re, said:

“Many people across the UK are looking to move as a result of the pandemic and understanding flood risk is a top priority for them, which is why I am delighted that over 80% of people support the introduction of a Flood Performance Certificate.

“With increasing risks of flooding due to climate change, FPCs can provide peace of mind for families about their new home and act as a catalyst to encourage them to make changes to the property so it is more resilient to flooding. They are a real positive step towards building a more resilient housing stock in the UK.  

“Nobody can stop the rain from falling, but we can all be better prepared for when it arrives. Building a more resilient and flood prepared nation is a goal we can realise through working together and I would urge the UK Government to look seriously at how FPCs can help them achieve this ambition.”

Today will see Flooding Minister, Rebecca Pow MP, officially launch Flood Re’s report during an online webinar. Ms Pow will deliver the keynote speech at today’s event and will be joined by a range of voices backing the introduction of FPCs, including Mary Dhonau, CEO of Know Your Flood Risk; Toby Park from the Behavioural Insights Team; and Steve Hodgson, CEO of the Property Care Association.

Mary Dhonau OBE, flood campaigner, and CEO of Know Your Flood Risk, commented:

“Having suffered the consequences of being flooded myself, I know first-hand the emotional and financial impact of flooding can be absolutely devastating. That is why I believe Flood Performance Certificates are a good idea.”

“I have made it my mission in life to raise the awareness of flood risk and to support those at risk. Property flood resilience is well known to be a cost-effective way of limiting flood risk yet uptake is incredibly low. FPCs have the potential to change peoples’ attitudes towards PFR and I look forward to working with Flood Re in promoting this idea more widely.”