The presence of natural light has always been an important property attribute – but did you know that it is less easy to come by as high-rises grow taller and blocks move closer together?
As with any scarce resource, properties with abundant natural light are increasingly being sold at a price premium.
One recent Victorian study showed that a sunny garden did influence property pricing.
Melbourne buyer advocacy company Secret Agent looked at several local areas with high sales turnover and consistent sales of period houses to see whether a clear correlation can be established between average house prices and the orientation of the backyard.
REIV sales data for April, May and June this year shows that of 43 properties sold in Brunswick, those with north-facing backyards had the highest average price of $858,000. Properties with west-facing yards had the lowest median price, $633,000. Of 58 sales analysed in Richmond, properties with north-facing yards attracted an average price of $1.05 million, nearly 17 per cent more than houses with a south-facing backyard. In Hawthorn, west-facing backyards had the highest selling prices, followed closely by north-facing yards. A north-facing orientation captures full light, although a north-westerly orientation can also do the job.
Paul Osborne from Secret Agent said ”there are good indicators that show buyers are prepared to invest more in a property when it has the light,” he says. ”I think this is a change that has happened over the past 10 years. It has become more important.” Perhaps even more important than the size of the land or the number of bathrooms.
Not only that, but Mr Osborne says he believes buyers are giving the thumbs-down to poorly lit properties. ”If a property doesn’t offer an outlook or it doesn’t offer natural light, people won’t look at it and they won’t consider it,” he says.
It stands to reason that a similar outcome could be expected in the local Sydney market, where we are no less addicted to our sunshine.
In these days of rising energy costs, warming sunlight isn’t only desired for aesthetic reasons.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria spokesman Robert Larocca says ”the importance of a house being sensitive to the climate and reducing your utility bills through the use of sensitive design has become much more accepted in the past decade,” he says. ”That is a flow-through from government requiring five and six stars [energy-efficiency ratings] in new buildings.”
The study and the quotations included here originally appeared in the SMH on August 18 in an article by Chris Tolhurst.