The Smartline Report – May Edition

The month in review: Sydney

By Herron Todd White
May 2016

Sydney Prestige residential property in Sydney is generally considered to be properties greater than $3 million. Prestige homes are scattered throughout the greater Sydney metropolitan area, with the greatest concentrations in the eastern suburbs and eastern beaches, inner city and inner east, inner west and the lower and upper north shores.

With the First Fleet arriving in 1788 and settlement occurring rapidly after this time, it is not unexpected that Sydney heritage prestige residential housing in Sydney is not only abundant but diverse in nature.

Heritage prestige homes may be subject to no formal heritage restrictions, local government heritage overlays or local, state or national heritage listings. The increasing severity of the heritage restriction or listing is generally indicative of the ease with which a heritage home may be modified or renovated.

A brief overview of Sydney heritage prestige home types includes (but is not limited to):
• Colonial (circa early 1800s)
• Victorian filigree (circa 1840s to 1910s)
• Victorian Italianate (circa 1870s to 1900s)
• Rustic gothic (circa 1830s to 1880s)
• Queen Anne (also called Federation) (circa 1890s to 1910s)
• Arts and Crafts (also called Federation) (circa 1900s to 1920s)
• Californian bungalow (circa 1910s to 1930s)
• Interwar Old English (circa 1920s to 1930s)
• Georgian revival (circa 1920s to 1930s)
• Art deco (circa 1920s to 1930s)

Heritage homes remain well regarded within the prestige residential market. These properties can range from terrace homes in areas such as Paddington and Woollahra through to substantial freestanding homes in any number of Sydney suburbs including as a snap-shot Mosman, Bellevue Hill and Vaucluse.

While most purchasers acquire heritage homes in order to preserve and enjoy the arguably irreplaceable period features inherent in these dwellings, maintaining these homes in their entirely original nature is not desirable.

Renovation of homes of this nature is subject to any overlying heritage preservation requirements. However owners of heritage prestige homes are also looking to capitalise on the purchase price paid to secure such a dwelling as well as to provide them with a high calibre, contemporary home.

Extending and renovating period homes might involve simply retaining the existing period façade and constructing brand new for the remainder or more sympathetic (and costly) forms of extension and update.

As with any form of renovation and update of a prestige home, the sky is the limit when it comes to cost. Total project cost when working with heritage homes will be dictated by factors such as the scope of period features to be retained and the level of restoration required (including the availability of suitable materials and craftsmen), through to the extent of new build or extension and the quality of fitting to be installed in the newly renovated or built areas of the home.

Given the demand for heritage prestige homes throughout Sydney, renovation and restoration of these properties is common and when market conditions are positive, capital growth through savvy enhancement is indeed possible. Should the uninitiated or the uninformed take on a project of this nature, it is quite possible to over-capitalise and thereby limit possible return on investment.

Inner Sydney
Owning a heritage listed property can bring other advantages such as protection of an item. As the local council must consider the effect of any proposed development in the area surrounding heritage items or conservation areas, this ensures an appropriate context for heritage items.

Owners are typically not permitted to render the front facade, demolish and rebuild or build up. They are encouraged to be as creative as possible in their restorative thinking to make the property both liveable and appealing. The way the dwelling looks from the street will usually have to be maintained, from the chimney to the roof line. You can have a Federation front and go completely contemporary with an extension or addition at the rear.

There are higher restoration costs for craftsmanship especially when period features such as decorative ceilings, cornices and ornate fireplaces are to be retained and also heritage specialist fees.

Some examples of sales within the eastern suburbs and inner west of Sydney are:

Ten properties at Millers Point owned by the NSW Government recently went up for auction. Millers Point has been a hot spot due to the redevelopment of the area including James Packer’s Barangaroo development. A heritage listed terrace at 40 Argyle Place, Millers Point sold on 25 February 2016 for $2.75 million and comprises a two storey, circa 1887 Victorian Terrace with 4-bedrooms and 1-bathroom with no car accommodation on 128 square metres of land. The property is in need of a full restoration.

9 Pickering Lane, Woollahra sold on 20 November 2015 for $2.025 million and comprises a circa 1880 single level neo-Georgian sandstone cottage with 2-bedrooms and 1-bathroom and no car accommodation on 152 square metres of land. The property has retained the front façade with an architecturally designed extension at the rear.

Heritage redevelopment is not limited to houses, with a number of heritage listed buildings in these areas being converted into residential units. An example is 109 Jersey Road, Woollahra which comprises a circa 1877 church conversion development containing four residential units. The most recent sale within this complex was May 2015 for $2.7 million.

Outer Sydney
Time period – 1840s to 1910s

These period dwellings are most often located in and around town centres, near the commercial and retail sectors or what have become main roads. Windsor is known as a Macquarie Town with settlement dating from the era of Governor Macquarie and as such there are a great number of period homes scattered across the suburb and wider region which includes Wilberforce, Pitt Town, Kurrajong and Richmond. A heritage precinct surrounds the town centre of Windsor with many of the original dwellings heritage listed by Hawkesbury Council.

At a price range of $500,000 to $700,000 within the townships of Windsor and Richmond, an older cottage on a parcel of 500 to 1,200 square metres with good structural bones can be found that could be further renovated or modernised to add capital value.

Typically properties between $850,000 and $1.2 million are fully renovated and in central town positions on good sized parcels. Homes are rarely traded above $1.5 million however this ceiling is commonly exceeded for a well renovated property in a semi-rural location on the outskirts of these towns on acreage parcels that may also include direct frontage to the Hawkesbury River.

Location, land size and their rarely exchanged nature make these homes desirable to the market. In the past these cottages were being converted to professional and mixed use commercial cottages however the past five to ten years has seen many bought and reverted to their previous use as a dwelling or family home.

Share on:

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is correct at the time of publishing and is subject to change. It is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, Smartline recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Smartline recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.