The month in review: Perth
By Herron Todd White
When we think of heritage precincts in Perth, most people jump straight to the heritage rich port of Fremantle and the highly sought after suburb of Mount Lawley, so we’ll use those as the basis of our discussion. Other examples include Bassendean, Perth, Guildford, Bicton, Dalkeith and Claremont.
The most common form and most sought after architectural style is without a doubt the Federation style. The style is exemplified by complex, ornate joinery and detailed plasterworks including ornate ceilings and mouldings, lead light windows and tuck-pointed brick work. Timber is always a feature, whether by polished timber floors, timber parquetry or extensive timber mouldings. Given the long established nature of the suburbs featuring these properties, external appeal includes streets lined with mature trees which become a feature unto themselves.
Well renovated dwellings are always keenly sought after, as renovating an original Federation style dwelling is often a labour of love and a costly enterprise. Entry level in both Mount Lawley and Fremantle is under $1 million for a basic and neglected dwelling on a smaller allotment, however properties that have undergone a significant restoration can command well above $2 million. It can be very easy to over-capitalise on these properties and those that fall at the upper end of the value range in the area are often the first to feel a slowdown in the market.
Generally in these areas the heritage listing does not have an onerously negative effect. In many cases, the heritage listing of all dwellings within a pocket acts to protect value by ensuring consistency of the streetscape.
Often the heritage listing will only affect the façade of a dwelling and it is common for the front two or four rooms of a dwelling to be retained and a contemporary dwelling will sit behind this, resulting in a clash of architecture but the compromise being the luxuries of modern living. These properties are often less sought after in comparison to dwellings which have undergone an extension sympathetic with the style of the façade and there are many examples of this being attempted to the detriment of the overall market value.
In relation to tenancy appeal, there is very good tenant demand for these properties, as tenants are renting a lifestyle that they can not afford to finance or purchase. The lower end of the market is often keenly sought after in the rental market, reflecting a well located property with a character feel. Both Mount Lawley and Fremantle offer a wide selection of rental properties constructed in the Federation style and the amenities offered within both areas increases the demand and ensures a consistency of occupancy.