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How health is influencing buyers’ property preferences

Tags: Residential

A move towards health and aesthetics-based reasoning is being increasingly used by property purchasers to help guide their search for a home.


When searching for a home, buyer decision-making often revolves around school zones, infrastructure, transport and nearby amenities, but a move towards health and aesthetics-based reasoning is being increasingly used by property purchasers to help guide their search for a home. Key emerging factors include;

• Mental well-being

• Respiratory health

• Physical fitness and;

• Community investment

So just what are the correlations between health and home, and how are these shaping up to influence residential property trends, asks Bayleys property reporter Katharina Charles.

MENTAL WELL-BEING

Said to reduce stress and promote relaxation, properties with water-views have long been associated with peace and tranquility.

However a joint study conducted in 2015 by The University of Otago and the University of Canterbury in association with Michigan State University in America, has sought to prove that sea-views are connected to lower levels of anxiety amongst home-owners.

The research also found that the positive effects of water-views extend to the wider community, as those living in neighbourhoods with predominantly oceanic outlooks reported lower levels of anxiety than those residing in comparable areas further inland. The research is great news for many Kiwi property owners who live near the ocean, lakes or rivers.

Similarly, recent research conducted in Toronto Canada found that residents living on streets with trees improves wellness, with 10 trees comparable to a $10,000 salary increase.

“Living on a street with trees beyond the window just makes residents feel healthier – whether it’s trees lining the street, a neighbouring park or plants in the backyard,” says Bayleys national residential and auction manager Daniel Coulson.

“There is an emerging trend toward higher values in areas where there is a higher proportion of green space.”

“The average sale price during the month of August 2017 in the leafy west-Auckland suburb of Titirangi for instance was 14 percent higher than those in the less-vegetated neighbouring suburb of New Lynn.

“The same applied in the Bay of Plenty city Tauranga, where the comparatively greener Bethleham reported an average sale price five percent above neighbouring suburb Matua.

“Further afield in Nelson the trend was repeated with greener Britannia Heights recording a median sale price 7.9 percent higher than nearby Tahananui.”

“The data shows buyers are taking notice of data which has shown urban green spaces and neighbourhood parks to enhance residents’ well-being, while contributing positively to the value of nearby real estate.

“Purchasers are increasingly willing to spend on property in order to secure these benefits,” she says.

RESPIRATORY HEALTH

Coulson says that buying a well-insulated, warm and dry home should top buyer checklists, however data from the Building Research Association New Zealand (BRANZ) shows that 11 percent of owner-occupied homes in New Zealand report above average moisture readings.

“The detrimental effects of cold and damp homes have been well documented, with conditions such as asthma, influenza and the risk of cardiovascular damage just some of the potential consequences,” he says.

“To avoid the possibility of illness, we have noticed a greater number of buyers looking to new developments and apartment or townhouse projects for certainty around building standards.

“Because new builds must meet the latest New Zealand Building Code minimum standards for insulation to earn compliance, purchasers appreciate that there is a greater assurance around construction.

“We have similarly seen a dramatic increase in the number of buyers seeking homes with a green Homestar rating – which is a rating of efficiency and comfortability awarded by the New Zealand Green Building Council.

“Moves toward a higher quality of housing are at the forefront of many local council considerations too. The Wellington City Council for instance has recently implemented a voluntary ‘Rental Warrant of Fitness’ for properties aimed at improving standards for rental accommodation.

“Should the initiative perform well I think we will see similar incentives implemented around the country,” he adds.

PHYSICAL FITNESS

While location and immediacy to amenities are consistently promoted as selling-points for property, the off-shoot for individual well-being could be just as attractive - with research suggesting a link between proximity to services and improved physical health.

“The ability to cycle or walk between your home and the local café, supermarket or gym is a serious selling point for buyers who enjoy the benefits of an active lifestyle,” says Bayleys St Heliers sales manager Jack Brabant.

“In March 2017 we welcomed the new Orakei Bay Village retail hub to the area, which features more than 29 businesses ranging from grocery to services and dining.

“Since the plans for the project were unveiled in February 2015, the median sale price in Orakei has increased 18.6 percent.

“While we acknowledge there are wider economic factors at play (inflation, migration) the additional infrastructure has certainly proven attractive to buyers who appreciate being able to tick off their daily physical activity just by shooting down to the grocer,” he says.

“This coincides with the recent release of Outlook – a luxury 42-apartment development in Mission Bay which has an emphasis on green spaces and the community lifestyle.

“Feedback from buyers has already indicated that the project’s proximity to amenities and the promotion of an outdoor lifestyle have held influence when looking to buy in the area,” he adds.

COMMUNITY INVESTMENT

Home-owners look to property as their refuge, a place to raise children, entertain friends and even recuperate when they are knocked down by illness. Fitting then that the role of the home as a contributor to overall health is becoming more important when making a decision to purchase.

“Buyers are increasingly looking to add-value through their surroundings,” Coulson says.

“Personal property can be styled to preference, but neighbourhoods offer landscape and local communities - culture and support.

“I believe we are going to see more collaboration and investment in our surroundings going forward, as home-owners become more conscious about the way collectives can work together to create healthier, more beneficial places to live.”

While the fundamentals of infrastructure, convenience and construction remain at the top of buyer’s preferences when looking to purchase, the growing movement toward purchasing a home that will add to its inhabitants health is another valuable way that sellers can look to add value.

“Utilising green spaces, updating insulation, installing energy efficient systems and investing more into the local community are just some of the ways that properties can stand out and capitalise on the nation’s growing health-consciousness,” says Coulson.

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