Does A Heritage Listing On A Property Impact Its Sales Price?

Does A Heritage Listing On A Property Impact Its Sales Price?

Does heritage listing add value to a property?

We explore the appeal of heritage properties in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

The Eastern Suburbs boast some of Sydney’s most picturesque streetscapes – especially in suburbs such as Woollahra and Paddington. And one of the key reasons for that is heritage listings, which have preserved so many of the original buildings.

But heritage listings aren’t always popular – especially for owners who have grand renovation plans, which they may find they have to modify or abandon.

So does a heritage listing really impact a property’s value? And if so, to what extent?

We explore the ins and outs of heritage listings in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

What is a heritage listing?

A heritage listing is a declaration that something has environmental or cultural significance and should be preserved for future generations.

The NSW government says that a heritage listing provides formal recognition that a place or object has heritage significance for the community and should be protected under law.

Both the state government and local councils sometimes heritage list homes, apartments and commercial premises. However, they can also place a heritage listing on trees, gardens, Aboriginal places of significance, monuments, objects and even entire streets.

How do I know if I have a heritage home?

Most heritage-listed residential homes are managed by the local council and listed in the heritage schedule of the local council’s Local Environment Plan (LEP). Both Waverley and Woollahra Councils provide useful information on this.

It’s also possible that a property may be registered on the NSW State Heritage Register.

Above these is a National Heritage List, which recognises places of outstanding significance to the nation. Truly unique buildings such as the Opera House can even be listed as World Heritage sites. However, you probably won’t have to worry about these classifications as a homeowner.

Spotlight on Woollahra

Woollahra is famous for its heritage streetscapes and boasts properties that date back as far as the Colonial era. It also features a mix of other properties from the Victorian, Federation and interwar years, as well as more modern designs.

In the early 1970s, green bans were placed on some properties in Woollahra, as well as other inner city areas like Potts Point and Paddington. These helped the suburb retain its character in an era when development was often less controlled than today. In more recent years, The Queen Street and West Woollahra Association has fought to preserve Woollahra’s unique heritage.

Some of the heritage-listed homes in Woollahra include:

There are approximately 700 heritage items in the broader Woollahra Council area. These range from buildings to other structures, as well as trees and landscape features.

These items are protected by Woollahra Local Environmental Plan 2014 and the development control plan. There are also fifteen Heritage Conservation Areas (HCAs) that are located in suburbs, including Paddington, Woollahra, Watsons Bay, Darling Point, Bellevue Hill, Rose Bay and Vaucluse.

Can I make changes to a heritage home?

The short answer is that you can probably make some, but not necessarily all changes.

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If you own a heritage-listed home or a property in a Heritage Conservation Area, you will generally have to seek consent for works that alter the building, whether internally or externally.

In some cases, you may not be able to change certain aspects of the property. You may even be forbidden from changing the paint colour of some properties so that it retains its original character.

Some architects and builders actually specialise in renovations, alterations, or adaptive reuse of historic buildings. It’s probably wise to engage a specialist heritage architect – or a heritage consultant – before you carry out any work to avoid heavy fines.

Anyone considering buying a heritage-listed home should bear in mind that maintenance and upkeep on a heritage property can cost more or be more time-consuming and remains ongoing due to its age.

Heritage properties are not often “low maintenance”, but for many homeowners, maintaining one is a labour of love.

Does a heritage listing add value?

Despite this, there is some evidence that a heritage listing can add value to a home.

An Australian Productivity Commission study reported that, on average, heritage-listed houses (on Sydney’s North Shore in this case) commanded a 12% premium over unlisted houses.

The data they sourced argued that “a statistically significant positive relationship was found to exist between heritage/cultural value and sale prices”.

Many buyers in our area adore period features from the Victorian or Art Deco eras, such as high ceilings, decorative plaster cornices and ceiling roses, pressed metal ceilings, tessellated tiling, stained glass or timber sash windows and original timber floorboards. Buyers also often like the quality craftsmanship from these eras, and this alone can add appeal to a home.

There’s also a strong market for sleek mid-century modern properties in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, ranging from apartments to iconic houses. Any property designed by a famous architect, such as Harry Seidler, is in particular demand.

For these reasons, heritage properties often attract high levels of interest, such as 10/18 Flinton Street Paddington, which smashed the suburb record when it sold for $20 million earlier this year.

Against this, however, we notice that some buyers can become concerned about the unknowns they’ll face when caring for a heritage property. In many ways, a heritage listing is a bit similar to having a swimming pool: it will attract some buyers but will turn off others.

One thing is certain, however: a heritage property has character that cannot be recreated or imitated. So this rarity can create a unique appeal and attraction to many demographics.

If you’re thinking of selling a home with a heritage listing, it’s important to choose an agent who understands the ins and outs of heritage properties, as well as how to market the property. After all, a heritage listing can help you tap into new and discerning buyer groups who aren’t interested in acquiring a run-of-the-mill home.

Want more?

If you’re thinking of buying or selling in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, get in touch.

Photo credit: Wikipedia: Waimea House. (2023, July 11)