It’s one thing to be street-smart, but how do you choose the smartest street to buy a property on? Because that decision is critical to making a good investment, say the experts.
“You can change everything about a house – you can extend it, do it up or pull it down – but you can’t change its location and which street it’s on,” Kim Quick, Sydney residential director of valuers Herron Todd White.
“You can buy a very pretty house, or make it pretty, but if the street doesn’t match it, then you might end up in the position you don’t want to be in: having the best house in the worst street. The choice of street should be a much higher priority that most people give it. It should be in the top three considerations, if not number one.”‘
Some streets are obviously splendid places to have a house or apartment. Wolseley Road in Point Piper with its views of the harbour, for instance, is one of the world’s most expensive streets, with four of the top five sales in Sydney in 2014 totalling $135 million.
But it is not just about great views. “It can also be worth paying more for a good street with access to a park or public transport or nearby cafes, or one that’s all heritage properties on big blocks of land,” says Peter Kelaher of buyers’ agency Sydney PK Property Search and Negotiators. “You also want a street that’s quiet, might be lined with trees, doesn’t have a frontage of all garages facing the street, and has a good community feel.
“At least 30 per cent of the buying decision about a house should be about the street.”
Certainly, houses o streets regarded as more desirable regularly command higher prices than their neighbours’. The most expensive three-bedroom apartment on Kirribilli Avenue recently sold for $8 million; the priciest three-bedroom townhouse on nearby Upper Pitt Street went for $4.3 million. On favourite Garden Street, Alexandria, a two-bedroom property sold for $825,000 in September; a similar one on Wyndham Street went for $656,000. And a three-bedder on Yarrannabbe Avenue in Darling Point fetched $3.1 million; its equivalent on Darling Point Road went for $2.6 million.
A cul-de-sac is another plus, believes Patrick Bright of EPS Property Search. “Then you want one where the houses are consistently of a good standard, too; you don’t want a 100 year old house standing next to one that’s been there 10 years. You also want to be close to the action but not right on the action.
“If there’s a two-hour parking restriction on the street, then you’re too close to it. You should also check it’s not a rat-run at night for traffic to take short-cuts through.”
It is all very well buying a rundown home to renovate, but the danger is, if the street isn’t worth of your $100,000 renovation, it won’t be a value-add. “You need to be in a good street with lifestyle amenities to justify doing the work,” advises Simon Cohen of Cohen Handler. “Otherwise, you might be wasting your money.”
Streets of houses with wide frontages that sit well on level blocks are another good indication of a smart street. “Ideally, they should be north facing at the rear to capitalise on the winter sun,” Stuart Jones of Rose & Jones says. “And if there’s elevation, then it should have a view or outlook.”
Tastes can change too and these days, with the big shift towards apartment living, the best streets for apartments are usually close to lots of lifestyle options, believes Jones. They will often have cafes, dry-cleaners, convenience stores and grocers.
“People want a street that will complement their lifestyle,” he says.
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