Property search provider Searchflow has warned that a dry summer in 2013 could result in hundreds of millions of pounds in damage resulting from shrink/swell subsidence.
With 2012 being one of the wettest years ever recorded, a consecutive dry year could see a pendulous swing in sold saturation levels leading to soil contraction.
This very real possibility was seen only as recently as in 2009 where a similar wet winter preceding an unusually dry summer saw a one third increase in subsidence related claims.
Areas built on highly absorbent clay soil are particularly at risk with much of North London and the South East of England being built on this type of soil. Indeed subsidence is a familiar issue in these areas even where relative stability in water saturation has existed.
Purchasing a property without a professional survey, particularly in clay soil areas, leaves buyers exposed to the serious and expensive consequences of owning a house with subsidence. A RICS survey gives buyers the ultimate peace of mind in knowing a property’s history and susceptibility to subsidence.
In the event that historical subsidence is found, it is common practice to renegotiate the buying price in proportion to the cost of remedy.
If previous subsidence repairs have been carried out, the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor will ensure that suitable warranties are in place and that the property is insurable.