Are heritage homes harder to sell?

Heritage-listed property remain a contentious issue for home buyers.

Beautiful to look at and much-loved, they can also be a lot of work and cost to renovate or maintain.

Though many perceive period features as an asset for a property on the market, recent research suggests Australian buyers aren’t as wowed by ornate features as we may have thought, especially if there’s a heritage factor that complicates changing the property.

Only 12% said a heritage property would be a plus if they were looking to buy, while a whopping 60% said a listing would be a disadvantage.

Is the negativity deserved?

To be fair; the negative perceptions out there are, in my opinion, somewhat justified.

Heritage listed residential properties are often found in high-demand, well-located areas. So, aside from the more expensive initial buy-in cost, owners are also challenged when adding value later on. And Australians do love to put their own stamp on a place.

But preserving the past could pay off

However, heritage property will only become more valuable over time because, quite simply, there will be less of it over time. Like any commodity in life, scarcity of an asset is a major values influencer. This means that buyers need to be holding on to these properties with a long-term view to reap the rewards.

Renovating a heritage property

Renovating heritage properties can be painstaking. For example, even small things like doorknobs must conform to a specific heritage checklist when renovating. This becomes further problematic when seeking structural renovation approvals, with some owners being caught out by planning permission refusal for things like loft conversions and added bedroom extensions.

Women don’t mind a bit of history

Our data shows that men were more likely than females to agree that heritage properties were a disadvantage. Perhaps more men were involved in the work required to renovate or maintain a heritage property? Or is it that women are more attuned to the historical and cultural value of a property with a legacy?

The data also reveals that people aged 35 and older were more against this type of property than those under 35. Again, could it be that older Australians have been around the block and understand that with the romance of an older home comes sweat and tears?

I think the real insight here is that those who have tried their hand at heritage properties and had a negative experience were probably were not playing the long game. A heritage listed property pays off the longer you hold it.

Heritage property over time will only become more valuable

Tasmanians favour heritage

The data also reveals some interesting regional perspectives. Aside from Sydney, Australia’s oldest colonial settlement is Hobart. Much of the country’s oldest heritage listed houses can be found in the Tasmanian capital. Looking at the data then, it’s no surprise that Tasmanians bucked the negative sentiment trend, with 67% believing that heritage status is either an advantage or that it would have no effect on their purchase decision.

Heritage listed properties need to be carefully considered. Regardless of differing market opinions, buyers should to take a long-term view, and a seller should position the value of a home with legacy accordingly.

by Cameron McEvoy,