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Water views make waves in property values

Tags: Property Insight Residential

When it comes to property prices in Auckland, sea-Vs are more important than CVs…. sea views and council valuations that is.

New research data confirms the long-held belief that views from the living room or back deck of a home dictate how much more a dwelling is worth compared to its next-door-neighbour without a vista.

Yet it’s the type of view and topographic location of the property that really sets the dollar value when it comes to sale time.

Real estate agency Bayleys has broken down its Auckland residential sales data for the past five years to compile a comprehensive picture of just how important a view is when home buyers assess the value of a new dwelling.

Bayleys national residential manager Daniel Coulson said Auckland’s rolling topography ensured that while the city was bordered by seas on two coasts, not all homes had visual access to harbour vistas – a requirement often sought by home buyers looking to buy in the metropolis known as the ‘City of Sails’.

“Just exactly how much a water view adds to a home’s value is hard to quantify - as the exact comparison between one address which has a sea vista and its neighbouring property which doesn’t, is usually tainted by a range of dynamics. For example, the two adjacent dwellings have different floor plates, different design, build, age, and section size. So you can’t simply compare apples with oranges,” he said.

“However, what can be quantified is that sea views are a benefit when selling a home. And the more benefits a home has, the higher the value achieved in the sale process. Not only that, it’s the quality of the water view which is paramount to most buyers.”

Mr Coulson said there was clear statistical data showing views of the Waitemata Harbour and outer gulf were worth far more than vistas of the Manukau Harbour – even though the two stretches of water were separated in parts by only a few kilometres.

Latest sales data from property sales information company CoreLogic for the thrid quarter of 2016 confirms the marked property value discrepancies between the two harbours – with Waitemata views rated at almost twice the price of their Manukau peers.

Overlooking the Waitemata, the median sales values were:

Meanwhile, by comparison, overlooking the Manukau, the median sales values were:

Mr Coulson said responses collected in the Bayleys research reflected that a number of factors contributed to the reasons why home owners preferred Waitemata views over the Manukau.Meanwhile, by comparison, overlooking the Manukau, the median sales values were:

“The Waitemata is Auckland’s premier recreational harbour so there’s always sailing craft of some description to watch – peaking in events such as the annual Auckland Anniversary Day regatta or when the Round-The-World yachts come in,” he said.

“And the golden sand beaches of the Waitemata are generally preferred destinations ahead of the mudflats of the Manukau. Supporting this is the general ease of access onto the multitude of Waitemata beaches, while the Manukau beaches are somewhat harder to drive or walk to.”

However home owners with dwellings overlooking either harbour can take comfort from a joint study released earlier this year by Canterbury and Otago universities which found that sea views generally contributed to a lower level of anxiety among home-owners.

‘Blue space’ includes water bodies such as lakes, oceans and rivers while ‘green space’ refers to open areas of vegetation such as parks, forests, backyard gardens and farms.

The study – Residential exposure to visible blue space (but not green space) associated with lower psychological distress in a capital city – examined the psychological effect of homes with a view of ‘blue space’ and ‘green space’.

The report, conducted in association with Michigan State University in the United States, found that residents living in neighbourhoods with increased views of predominantly oceanic ‘blue spaces’ had lower stress levels than those who did not. The researchers suggested that ‘blue space’ may even have a stronger influence on reducing psychological distress than ‘green space’ forests or parks.

Using feedback from adults aged 15-years and older who participated in the New Zealand Health Survey conducted by the Ministry of Health in 2011/2012, the researchers rated residents’ responses on a ‘psychological distress scale’. The researchers used a 10-item questionnaire designed to measure a person’s levels of anxiety and depression. The higher an individual’s score, on a scale of 0 to 40, the more likely they are to be experiencing depression and/or anxiety.

According to the study, the data – which indicated lower levels of anxiety and depression in Wellington residents with a view of the ocean – “higher visibility of ‘blue space’ was significantly associated with lower psychological distress”.

Based on their findings, researchers concluded: “that for a 20 percent increase in visibility of blue space, a lower stress score could be expected.”

Mr Coulson said feedback to Bayley’s survey indicated the variance of vista types could be easily ranked, although ratings were largely dependant on personal home-owner preference – with water views coming out on top at 71 percent, bush/countryside and parkland views taking second spot at 24 percent, and city views filling out third place in preferred view rankings at four percent. Only one percent of respondents said views were of no importance at all.

“Under this preference scale, you will always find people who prefer to buy in Titirangi or Chatswood for example because of the locations’ respective bush outlooks and the early morning bird song, ahead of say Castor Bay or Bucklands Beach for their Gulf views. And of course vice-versa for those who want a beach or harbour view rather than looking out onto bush,’ Mr Coulson said.

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