Despite the downturn, Sydneysiders’ love affair with period properties is not going out of style.
Experts say buyers continue to eye Victorian terraces, federation homes and californian bungalows as they hunt for bargains they can renovate and add up to $500,000 to their value.
Architect Sam Crawford has seen a recent spike in the number of people reworking character homes in the inner west to add some contemporary flair.
“A lot of that housing stock is turning over at the moment, with lots of young couples and families buying deceased estates or from retirees, and these houses are typically in original condition or haven’t been touched in up to 50 years,” Mr Crawford said.
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“Most people want to keep some character so we try to add features in a contemporary way that is sympathetic to the house.”
With the majority of his team’s projects costing between $1 million and $3 million, homeowners tend to have similar briefs. Buyers want to keep the charm of the exterior but request modern additions.
“It is usually the facade we keep and the first four front rooms because they tend to be double brick construction, while the rear section is often lightweight and can leak,” Mr Crawford said.
“The verandas, timber detailing, pressed metal or plaster ceilings, cornices, door architraves, ceiling windows and even old timber floors can often be saved.”
The types of architecture buyers favour can be seen in different parts of the city.
Most Surry Hills and Paddington streets are lined with inviting terraces. The inner west is filled with federation homes while there is a mixture of suburbs that feature Art Deco properties.
Auctioneer and founder of Real Estate Gym Tom Panos said there was a link between location and popular styles.
“There is no demand for federation homes in Strathfield but Haberfield has an insatiable appetite for federation,” Mr Panos said.
“The smartest thing people in real estate look at is what the customers in that market are looking to buy and they get that, so they know they have no issue when it comes time to sell.”
A 1920s house at 18 Winburn Ave, Kingsford, has just hit the market and while it looks like a typical bungalow from the outside, the interior has been stylishly updated.
Listing agent Alexander Phillips, from Phillips Pantzer Donnelley, praised sellers Chris and Emma Mackenzie for sticking to the street’s sense of uniformity while adding value.
“It’s the right mix of old and new and being single-level it appeals to couples, parents with kids and even downsizers,” Mr Phillips said.
CoreLogic records reveal the vendors bought the house for $1.651 million in 2013, when it was a deceased estate in original condition. It had pokey rooms and the owners also found asbestos. It is now selling with a guide of $2.55 million.
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The Mackenzies have spent about $300,000 fixing it, removing the back of the home, raising the ceiling, opening up the kitchen, redoing the bathroom, and adding bi-fold doors and an outdoor deck.
“Everyone loves that triple gabled, Californian bungalow look, and it really gives it a nice feeling, especially in this area — we love it,” Mr Mackenzie said.