The Smartline Report – May Edition

The month in review: Adelaide

By Herron Todd White
May 2016

Heritage style properties are generally well received by the Adelaide property market. Examples of two heritage style areas are North Adelaide and Colonel Light Gardens. North Adelaide is situated to the north of the Adelaide CBD fringe.

North Adelaide is part of the historic plan of the City of Adelaide. The historic character of North Adelaide provides strong cultural and historic evidence of the creation of the colony, the establishment and consolidation of early settlement and the subsequent development of South Australia’s capital city over time. The area retains many buildings and sites of state and local heritage value ranging from large mansions to simple row cottages, corner shops and hotels to major churches and institutional buildings that reflect the different periods of development (reference: City of Adelaide Development Plan).

North Adelaide is made up of a group of three residential areas separated from the city by the parklands. These areas are known as Upper North Adelaide, Lower North Adelaide and the Cathedral Area. It is an appealing and sought after area due to its proximity to the CBD, O’Connell Street shopping and restaurant precincts and Adelaide Oval as well as its border of parklands and attractive housing stock.

House styles present in North Adelaide include early Victorian (1840s to 1860s), Victorian (1870s to 1890s), Edwardian (1900 to 1920s), inter-war (1920s to 1942) and post-war (1950s plus). Smaller dwellings (typically attached and row style) on small allotments (70 square metres to 350 square metres) generally sell in the $400,000 to $600,000 range. Larger detached dwellings typically sell for over $800,000 while mansion style dwellings could be anywhere from $2 million to $4 million.

Colonel Light Gardens is situated approximately nine kilometres south of the CBD.

In January 1917, Charles Reade, South Australia’s first appointed Government Town Planner, commenced plans for the model suburb Mitcham Garden Suburb (source: City of Mitcham Development Plan). This area would become known as Colonel Light Gardens.

The garden suburb included radial street patterns, street reserves and gardens, wider main streets and narrower streets for residential areas which discouraged through traffic, zoning of areas according to their best use, designated residential and commercial areas, utility ways for sewerage, gas mains and power cables, allotments with wide frontages and space for recreation and gardening. Development progressed first in the north east section of the suburb in 1921. House styles reflected the popular preference for Californian bungalows. The suburb is significant as it exemplifies the theories of town planning of the early 20th century based on the Garden City concept and is considered the most complete and representative example of a garden suburb in Australia, combining town planning, aesthetic and social elements into a coherent plan. The public and private spaces of the suburb meld to create a distinctive three dimensional suburban design (source: City of Mitcham Development Plan).

Dwellings in this suburb typically sell between $500,000 and $1 million with dwellings to the upper end of the range typically renovated throughout. This area provides a more affordable option for potential purchasers seeking a character property compared to suburbs closer to the CBD. There is railway access to the CBD via a train line situated within one kilometre of the suburb. It is a popular suburb due to its proximity to local facilities with small cafes operating in original shop fronts in the area increasing in popularity.

Heritage style properties in North Adelaide are typically renovated with modern style additions increasing the amenity of older dwellings while retaining character features in the original section of a property. It can be difficult to determine how people are treating the renovation of these older homes as many homes are renovated and then held in the medium to long term.

An older example of a renovation undertaken in North Adelaide is shown below. The property was purchased in April 2010 for $1.16 million and was in poor condition. After a full refurbishment including the construction of an extension and swimming pool, the property sold in September 2011 for $2 million. Given the scope of works that appear to have been undertaken, we would assume the renovation costs were substantial. As noted above, it is generally difficult to determine how renovations are treated if the property is not sold on completion of the renovation.

Potential purchasers seeking heritage style property typically appreciate a property’s history and older construction methods. New home buyers can be deterred by older homes as they can be viewed as requiring more maintenance and repairs. Given the example of North Adelaide, heritage properties in this location are desirable because of their history and location.

There is tenant demand for heritage style dwellings particularly in the two areas noted above. As with all property, location and local services are important to potential occupants of a property. Older dwellings in particular can be popular as they typically provide large, even sized rooms which can be appealing for a shared accommodation set up.

A heritage style property does not have an impact on a valuer’s assessment. Where a property is state or local heritage listed, there is awareness that any works have been undertaken in accordance with the Local Development Plan for the area.

If a heritage listed property is in poor condition that would typically represent land value, a valuer needs to consider that the improvements cannot be removed and the existing improvements would need to be renovated.

Renovations to a heritage style property can be more expensive than a standard style dwelling but this is subjective given renovations and in particular extensions, can attract a higher building rate than a new build.

A valuer would have consideration for the potential outlay of a heritage renovation but the valuation would be undertaken via standard practice and therefore based on comparable sales evidence.

Mount Gambier
Properties of some heritage significance are listed within the city of Mount Gambier Development Plan ( planning-and-land-management/development-plans/ country-development-plans/mount-gambier-citydevelopment-plan). The Development Plan provides an address and detail of the specific heritage significance of each property listed. The State Heritage register is a shorter list which does not include housing, however encompasses churches, banks, fire station, schools etc. whereas the Schedule of Local Heritage Places are predominantly residential houses.

Areas such as Bay Road, which encompasses one of Mount Gambier’s oldest residential areas, contains many dwellings identified as local heritage places. House styles within this area include cottages, bungalows, Tudor style and return verandah villas. The Vansittart Park area is strongly influenced by villa, Federation and bungalow style dwellings. The Wehl Street South area contains a significant number of early dwellings ranging from the 1880s through to the mid 1920s and the Doughty Street and Wehl Street North areas are characterised by grand houses on generous allotments. These areas are all blanket areas dedicated to being heritage by the Mount Gambier local council.

These types of character dwellings often achieve average prices above typical conventional dwellings. Renovated and extended character style dwellings are often tightly held in Mount Gambier. Some well located streets within Mount Gambier may only have one or two character dwellings placed on the market every few years. Below are some recent sales of heritage style dwellings.

External form, original materials and architectural detail of 1902 residence including face dolomite and dressed limestone walls, original timber window and door joinery, return convex verandah roof form and stone chimneys.

External form, original materials and architectural detail of 1909 residence including sawn limestone walls and stone chimneys, cast iron verandah elements and limestone fence pillars.

External form, material and detail of 1915 residence including dressed limestone walls and door and window dressings, limestone balustrade wall to verandah, tall limestone chimneys, timber verandah posts and timber strap detail to roof gable.

Desirable attributes of these heritage style properties include features such as high ceilings, polished timber floors, solid construction, ornate ceilings and cornices and open fireplaces. In addition most heritage homes are centrally located on larger allotments than typically found in modern residential divisions, ranging anywhere from 1,000 square metres to 5,000 square metres.

In recent years, a growing number of people have been undertaking extensions and renovations on character style dwellings. Typically the older properties will have large rear yards with scope for good sized extensions. Often owners will reconfigure floor plans to add in an en suite to the master bedroom, install larger new kitchens and remove internal walls to create better natural lighting.

Extending and renovating these older homes can be expensive and costs often exceed first estimates. In saying that, a well located character home is harder to over capitalise on when compared to typical conventional dwellings situated in a secondary location.

Available sales evidence does indicate that few property owners have made large profits on sales of these properties once extensions and renovations have been completed. It is difficult to make good returns when renovating these older homes because of the associated high expense, however in the market they are considered safe to renovate as they are highly sought after.

Please note that information in this publication is subject to change without notice. Smartline assumes no responsibility for any errors, omissions or mistakes in this document. © Smartline Home Loans P/L 1999 – 2016. Australian Credit Licence Number 385325

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