A cul-de-sac in Torquay has become an unlikely contender for the title of the most dangerous street in Britain. One home has been destroyed, another evacuated, and a third has had its garden sealed off. Homeowners are watching the value of their properties (and possibly even the properties themselves) collapse.
So why has this happened, and is this the strangest potential pitfall facing homeowners?
LandslidesThe cliff-top Redcliffe Road in Torquay has become the victim of a series of landslides, which have brought the street alarmingly close to the edge of the cliff, and in one instance took half of one property off the edge. As a result, the council has evacuated another property, and fenced off a garden which is considered to be at risk.
The properties have been there for 90 years, but in the last few months, huge swathes of the cliff face have fallen into the sea.
According to the Daily Mail, the typical asking price is £360,000 for a property on the road, but the risk posed by the cliff will mean buyers will be few and far between. Ironically, the property that has already succumbed had been sold at a blind auction just a week before being declared unsafe in 2010. It was sold for £155,000 to a woman who had never seen the location.
Growing riskIt's certainly unusual, and according to This is South Devon, the police have had to ask tourists to stay away, as they crowd in to see the peculiar remnants of the house that has fallen off a cliff.
However, it's a serious risk for those living near the sea in certain parts of the country. Climate change has destabilised the land in some areas, and changed erosion patterns in others. The government estimates that over the next 20 years, 200 homes will be made unsafe by coastal erosion and a further 2,000 will be at risk.
The effect on house prices is devastating. In 1987 Jane Archer bought a bungalow 500 yards from the sea in Norfolk for £20,000. In 2008 it was valued at just £1, as the sea had eroded its way to within 65 yards of the property.
And this is just one of the odder risks that wouldn't even occur to most of us to worry about when we're buying a property.
1. Unforeseeable planning developments
In February this year, a pensioner had her property valued in order to get a mortgage. Unfortunately for her, the Buckinghamshire property was on the proposed route for The High Speed Two rail link, and the mortgage company pronounced it was worthless.
2. Japanese Knotweed
A couple in Hertfordshire saw the value of their property fall from £305,000 to £50,000 in 2011 after Japanese Knotweed took over. They eventually had to demolish the property to get rid of the plant.
It's a growing risk that we're all increasingly aware of... but not every type of flood can be foreseen. When one woman returned to her Chippenham home in December last year, she discovered that she had been burgled, and that the thieves had left the taps running, flooding her home into the bargain.