The month in review: Brisbane
By Herron Todd White
Brisbane loves its’ heritage.
Our Queenslander timber-and-tins sit proudly upon this city’s dirt – an iconic design that’s well entrenched in our psyche.
When it comes to older homes under protection, there’s heritage (which is the really old stuff that’s very rare) and there’s also character housing which is pre-1946 homes that must be retained under legislation.
Because of the restrictions that may revolve around many of these properties when it comes to renovation and removal, some buyers view them as a pain, while others embrace the structures as historic works of art.
Typically Queenslander style property is found in the inner city localities mostly within 5 kilometres of the CBD. If your keen to drive around and see some architectural history, try Paddington, Auchenflower, Coorparoo, Hawthorne, Bulimba and New Farm. They are dominated by very cool, old shacks. Also check out some of the classic property in the Ipswich area. While we know it’s not Brisbane, we can’t help but feel pride in our western cousin’s beautiful structures.
Sticking with properties within the Brisbane City Council boundary, you’ll find price points that would make a Sydney buyer choke on their barramundi. For less that the cost of a 1-bedroom Bondi unit, you can get yourself into a classic home on a 607 square metre block in Cooparoo i.e. just over $750,000.
They’re a bit more expensive in Bulimba and Hawthorne where you’ll need something closer to $900,000 or more, while small sites of 405 square metres in Paddington will see you in a modest quality home somewhere in the mid-$700,000s. You’ll really need a bit more dosh to get something substantial and on a decent size block in Paddington – even more so in New Farm.
So why do we love ye olde’ Queensland property? Well they typically have a number of attributes that new properties don’t, such as VJ timber walls, decorative and high ceilings, plus larger bedrooms and living areas. Many of the classics also come with big verandahs just right for a Squatter’s Chair.Most buyers head into heritage-property ownership with the intention of renovation, and purists will want to maintain the original character of the dwelling when they do the work. The main renovation is “raising and building in underneath” as the majority of Queenslanders were highset.
There’s no denying issues do arise where a property is on the Heritage Register given it may have some cultural significance. In this case, there’s extra money spent to ensure that any proposed renovations or
extensions are in keeping with the character of the dwelling – although architectural and planning advice may allow for clever additions to a property that will satisfy the authorities. Many buyers add onto older homes with a contemporary extension where the line between modern and historic is clearly defined. If you’ve sort the right professional advice, it can work very well.
Many of the properties also offer a chance for a profit. Good gains can be made renovating Queenslanders as often they are in modest condition when purchased and there’s the opportunity to raise and add a second level.
While these homes may have a special place in an owner’s heart, there’s no evidence that there’s greater tenant demand for Queenslanders over other styles of dwellings – it would be more about location than style when it comes to tenant demand. In fact, some of the older homes can suffer from being high maintenance and, depending on orientation, can be susceptible to hot summers and cold winters.
From a valuer’s perspective, generally Queenslander style dwellings are valued on a similar basis to newly constructed dwellings and the valuer would compare with sales of Queenslanders where possible. Where
a property is listed on a Heritage Register, comment would be made in the report about this fact and that this may have an impact on any future renovations proposed for the property.
But overall there is broad appeal for well-presented timber and tin – particular in our blue chip suburbs… and with a little elbow grease they can result in a handsome value increase in many cases.