Buying property in a bush fire prone area – what you need to know

By Kevin Kelly

Western Australia is no stranger to bush fires. It's unfortunately not an uncommon natural disaster which can quickly rampage parks, forests and property. Over millions of years, many plants and wildlife have developed to offer some resistance against rampaging fires.

When looking to buy or build in a bush fire prone area, what do you have to know?

Construction in a designated zone

Any building that you plan to construct in Western Australia must comply with the regulations outlined in the Building Code of Australia. There are specific bush fire prevention requirements for your building, to cut down on the flammable material in the case of a fire happening.

It's a natural disaster that can easily take lives, posing a risk for those living in a designated bush fire zone. During the construction process, the Bushfire Planning Reform states than you need to be able to assess bush fire risk during all stages of planning and development. 

To find out if you are building in a bush fire prone area, you will need to check the designated areas determined by the Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner on a map.

Before you even start planning your home in Western Australia, you'll need to contact both your trusted real estate agent as well as the WA Government to gather what you'll need for approval – typically for both planning and building.

Buying in a bush fire prone zone

According to the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA), the median house price across the last quarter remained stable. In fact, many of the regional areas saw a slight decrease in annual median house prices. The Bunbury Greater Region's median property price fell 1.3 per cent to sit comfortably at $375,000.

This just shows that it's a reliable time to buy property in Western Australia – a real estate agent should be able to help you find a home or land in a suitable region, and to guide you through any bush fire prevention requirements.

A property of interest to you may be highlighted on Map of Bush Fire Prone Areas in pink – this indicates that the property requires further assessment for any bush fire prevention strategies. A property is reviewed and measured according to the building's resistance to fire and ignition of a bush fire. A home may need to be upgraded before it is deemed safe for residential purposes.

You'll definitely want to do all your research into a property in a bush fire designated zone before buying – it can make the difference between a house or a home in Western Australia.

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