For the most part, a house is really only as good as the neighbourhood it’s built in. You could have the nicest 4-bedroom, 3-storey place with a backyard pool and fabulous views, but if it’s in an area with no schools, no public transport, no restaurants, and a high crime rate to boot, it probably won’t go for as much as you’d expect at auction.
There are certain neighbourhood features that can have a significant impact on a property's value. These are important for prospective investors to consider, as well as hopeful home buyers, and those looking to sell their property.
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This one is a no-brainer. There is a direct correlation between schools, especially good schools, and property prices. Houses in suburbs with, or close to, schools with stellar reputations will always sell for higher prices than houses close to schools with a bad rep, or no schools at all.
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We’re talking pools, parks, gyms, picnic areas, dog parks, bike trails, footpaths - any feature of a neighbourhood that might be useful or desirable to residents. These will always add value to a property.
Of course, certain amenities may come with a downside. Skate parks or public bathrooms, for example, might attract the wrong kind of crowd and decrease the value of a property.
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This is maybe more important than proximity to public transport (living right beside a train station might actually reduce the value of your property, for instance). If a neighbourhood is within walking distance to schools, shops, parks, restaurants, coffee shops and everything else, the value of the property within it is sure to be higher. There’s always been something appealing about being able to just duck down to the corner shop to buy bread.
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A neighbourhood that is a short distance to geographically significant places will also increase the value of a home. Closeness to parks or beaches, in particular, tends to add a lot of value, and you only have to look at the prices of property within a 10km radius of the Sydney CBD to know how much value proximity to a city can add to your property.
A neighbourhood that looks nice and is well maintained will add to the overall value of houses in the area. Tree-lined streets, median-strips decorated with flowers rather than concrete and building facades that are clean and graffiti-free are just three examples of council-controlled neighbourhood features that will add value to property.
Think of San Francisco’s Lombard Street, the most crooked street in the world. The landscaping here has contributed to it - a neighbourhood street - becoming one of the most visited tourist attractions in a city full of attractions. Heritage buildings and historical landmarks will usually also add value.
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People want to feel safe, and a neighbourhood with a strong safety record and a low incidence of crime will most definitely add value to a property.
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No one wants to open their curtains in the morning and look out at ugly buildings across the street. Neighbourhoods that contain a large number of visually appealing properties will increase the overall value of all the other properties.
Additionally, neighbourhoods that have unique or quirky houses can similarly add to the value of property. Just think of the infamous brightly painted row houses of Notting Hill in London. Sometimes it’s good to have a neighbourhood that stands out.
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