Plans to extend bushfire overlay in Manningham expected to impact house values

Plans to extend bushfire overlay in Manningham expected to impact house values

08 April 2017

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Australia — MORE than 3000 Manningham properties will be designated bushfire-prone under a plan expected to downgrade property values and leave homeowners with hefty insurance fees.

Manningham Council has slammed the move in a submission to the State Government, saying it does not regard any of the 3100 properties in Templestowe, Park Orchards, Donvale and Wonga Park to be at very high or extreme bushfire risk.

The changes have been proposed after a state review of the bushfire management overlay (BMO), recommended by the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission following Black Saturday.

But Cr Paul McLeish said council officers did not support extending the bushfire overlay and had made a submission to the Government stating these areas, particularly western Park Orchards, were not considered to be at risk.

“This has been brought on with no extensive consultation,” he said.

“It’s quite astounding that they haven’t written to the thousands of property owners who will be affected by the changes.”

Deakin University property expert Professor Richard Reed said “the market would prefer properties without a BMO”.

“There is a direct relationship between risk and value for most real estate. When the market perceives there is a higher risk associated with a property, then the value will go down,” he said.

Prof Reed said it was likely affected homeowners would also be stung with higher insurance premiums.

Under stringent BMO rules, property owners will have to install water tanks to fight fires and ensure the clearing of vegetation including removing overhanging branches and shrubs more than 1m high near or below windows. They will also need planning permits for any building alterations.

Former councillor Meg Downie described the changes, which affect her Donvale property, as a “bit over the top”.

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