Subsidence is something house owners never want to face. Yet, recent data has shown that more homes are at an increased risk of subsidence due to hotter and drier summers.
But, what is subsidence, how much does subsidence devalue a property exactly, how can you recognise it, and how much does it cost to repair it?
Let’s find out.
Subsidence is the sinking or settling of the ground’s surface.
This process pulls the foundations of the property down and can cause floors and walls to shift, which can lead to cracks and potentially destabilise the construction.
Subsidence in a house can significantly decrease the value of a property. The amount of devaluation depends on a number of factors, including the extent of the damage (security level) and the location of the property (some areas are at a higher risk of subsidence).
In some cases, subsidence can decrease the market value of a property by as much as 20%. In extreme cases, subsidence can cause severe structural problems and render the property inhabitable. If that happens, the property will likely have to be demolished.
If you want to learn how much your property is worth and whether subsidence has decreased its value, you’ll have to talk to an estate agent and ask them to evaluate the property.
The earliest and most common house subsidence signs are cracks in foundations, walls, floors, and ceilings, which widen over time.
Other signs of subsidence in a house include:
If you notice any of these subsidence signs, it is important to have your home inspected by a chartered surveyor as soon as possible. Subsidence can progress quickly and cause significant damage to your home if left unchecked.
Subsidence can happen for a variety of reasons, but some of the most common are:
Tree roots are certainly one of the most prevalent, and if not the most common, causes of subsidence. A big tree near your property can lead the ground to lose moisture and shrink.
Soil with a high clay content can dry out faster, especially during long, hot summers. When the volume of the soil decreases, it can cause the building’s foundation to subside and trigger ground movement.
Issues such as damaged drains, vibrations from traffic, mining history, poorly built ground, or foundations can lead to subsidence over time. Leaks from plumbing or sewer lines can also wash away the soil underneath your home, causing it to settle.
Soil contracts in the dry and expands in the wet. Long periods of dry summer and wet winter weather cause constant fluctuations in groundwater and make the soil unstable.
The cost of repairing subsidence depends on the extent of the damage, the size of the subsided house, and the location of the affected property.
House subsidence repairs are typically expensive and often take months to complete. The cost to fix subsidence in the UK ranges anywhere between £5,000 and £50,000.
If you have insurance, especially home insurance, that covers subsidence, it can cover some of the full cost.
The cost of repairing subsidence mainly depends on the type of repairs that the property requires to fix the issue. These can include:
Here’s how much they cost.
|Subsidence repair costs||Cost + VAT ( low – high)||Average cost|
|Underpinning||£10,000 – £15,000||£12,500|
|Underpinning cost per m (up to 1m)||£1,000 – £1,750||£1,500|
|Mass concrete method (per m)||£250 – £500||£375|
|Piling||£750 – £1,500||£1,250 per m2|
|Injector method||£400 – £700||£550 per m2|
|Beam and base method||£500 – £900||£700 per m2|
|Structural engineer hourly rate||£50 – £90||£70|
|Survey||£400 – £1,500||£950|
|Party Wall Agreement||£1,500 – £3,500||£2,500|
Unfortunately, the costs associated with fixing property subsidence don’t stop there. The property might require additional work, such as:
Selling a house with subsidence can put off some buyers but it’s not a deal-breaker for everyone.
If you want to see the house without having to repair the damage caused by the subsidence (and the subsidence itself), you’ll likely need to sell the house for a much lower price since the buyer will have to undertake the work and cover the costs for the repair.
The best way to go about it is to have your property evaluated by a professional. They’ll give you an estimated price based on the location, the size of the property, and the extent of the damage.
This will help you to set a realistic asking price and give you an idea of how much work needs to be done to fix the problem.
The decision whether to sell property with subsidence or treat subsidence mainly depends on personal circumstances.
Selling quickly has obvious advantages. It can help you avoid further financial losses and the long and expensive subsidence repairs. However, the property will sell for less than its market value, and the seller may have difficulty finding a buyer who’s willing to accept the risk of subsidence.
On the other hand, treating a subsidence house is pricey and there’s no guarantee that a subsiding house that has undergone repairs, wouldn’t face the same issue in the future.
However, it will add significant value to the property and if your property is insured, your provider will cover most of the costs related to the repairs.
House subsiding can be caused by various factors, such as poor construction, water damage, and tree roots near the property. Depending on the extent of the damage and the location, you still might be able to sell the property. However, subsidence can significantly decrease the value of a property and in some cases, you might even have to sell it for 20% less than its market value.
When selling a house with subsidence in the UK, you should declare all structural damages or any other issues that the property is or has faced in the past.
If you don’t, you could be sued for misrepresentation and land in court.
Subsidence has to be declared, regardless of when it happened.
If the property has been affected by subsidence at any point in the past, the seller has to inform both their real estate agent and the buyer.
The amount of devaluation depends on the extent of the damage, the size of the property, and its location. Sometimes, estate agents might also take into consideration the costs of the repair as well.
My name is Marija, and I'm a financial writer at DontDisappointMe. Although finance might not be everyone's cup of tea, my 10+ years of working in one of the biggest banks in my country, and my interest in extensive research on everything finance/investment-related, have made me somewhat of an expert in the field (if I do say so myself). No longer having the passion to work in a corporate setting, I decided that I couldn't let all of this knowledge go to waste so I started writing. And, here I am! Today I try to share my knowledge with my audience in the hopes of making this topic as simple and interesting as possible. In my leisure time, I like spending time with my family and travelling to new locations.