Have you ever taken a compass out when viewing a property? Or is the floorplan or map one of the first things you check when viewing a property’s online listing to find out which way the property is facing to see if it possesses the obligatory south-facing garden? You are not alone…
“You’d be amazed at how many people turn up to a viewing and use the compass on their phone to work out where the sun is coming from, it’s a really important requirement in these parts,” David Phillip, partner of David Phillip Estate Agents in Yorkshire, said.
Houses with south-facing gardens are often considered the ultimate property must-have. As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, south-facing gardens are much sought-after as they enjoy more hours of sunlight than gardens facing in any other direction, subject to local buildings and vegetation not blocking the light, that is.
Today, gardens are treated like another room of the house; they have become an extension of our living spaces with features like hot tubs or residential outhouses that have been built to accommodate a home office, gym, sauna or annexe or some people even build fully fitted bars in their gardens, with beer pumps, wine racks, mini-fridges and more.
So, as south-facing gardens are so sought-after, it would make sense that houses with a south-facing garden would cost a whole lot more money to buy, right? You bet that’s right…
Why South-Facing Gardens Are a Precious Commodity for City Living
In fact, new research from property portal platform, Rightmove has found that homes listed on the portal as benefiting from a south-facing garden command £22,695 more on average than homes without.
This is especially true in cities like London where a patch of private green space is a rare commodity meaning properties boasting a south-facing garden or terrace that enjoys sunlight all day long will likely command a premium price.
Marc von Grundherr, director at Benham & Reeves in London, observes: “I think south-facing gardens come at a premium in London because typically we’re more limited on space down here. A typical terraced house in London might have a garden that’s only 20 ft long, so you want as much light as possible in your garden and into the back of your house. And London is very built up, especially in places like Fulham and Chelsea, and all those buildings that overlook smaller homes tend to zap up all the light.”
The South-Facing Garden Premium in Your Region
Rightmove’s analysts crunched the numbers looking at 400,000 listings of three and four-bedroom homes across Great Britain on the portal and found that homes listed as having a south-facing garden are actually priced substantially higher on average than homes not advertising this feature. Nationally, the research found that homes with south-facing gardens command a 7 per cent asking price premium with the average price of a house with a south-facing garden costing £369,365 versus £346,670 for a non-south facing property.
According to the research, the region boasting the biggest premium for homes with a south-facing garden was Yorkshire and the Humber with the average price of a house with a south-facing garden costing £288,881 – some £35,828 higher than a non-south facing property with an asking price of £253,053 – this works out as a whopping 14 per cent extra.
Runner-up to top-performer Yorkshire and the Humber is the North West where the average price of a house with a south-facing garden costs £303,539 compared to £271,895 for a non-south facing property – another healthy 12 per cent premium.
London properties with south-facing gardens were found to command the next-highest premium of 9 per cent. London was followed by the North East and West Midlands in joint third position with south-facing garden enjoying premiums of 8 per cent, then Wales and the South West at 6 per cent, East Midlands at 5 per cent, Scotland at 3 per cent and the South East and East of England joint bottom of the table but still enjoying 2 per cent higher prices for homes listed as benefiting from south-facing gardens.
Properties With South-Facing Gardens Sell Faster
Rightmove’s data analysts also found that properties with south-facing gardens sell more quickly than those without in almost all regions around Great Britain. In fact, the national average for homes with south-facing gardens was two days faster, with eight out of 11 regions all finding buyers more quickly.
Once again, it was homes with south-facing gardens in Yorkshire & the Humber that performed best, with homes listed for sale finding a buyer eight days faster on average than homes without.
Furthermore, Rightmove has seen people searching for homes with a garden on the portal double this June compared to June of 2019.
Rightmove’s resident property expert Miles Shipside provides some handy advice on how sellers of properties with both south-facing and non-south-facing gardens can benefit from this knowledge: “It doesn’t mean your house will automatically be worth £22,000 more if it has a south-facing garden as this is an average and it will also depend on the condition and location of your home, but it’s certainly something to shout about in a listing as it could mean your home makes it on to a buyer’s shortlist over another property down the road, or even on the other side of the street.
“The key is to have the garden looking its very best for pictures and viewings. A quick lick of paint to a garden fence or shed helps, and it sounds simple but mowing the lawn and putting out a few garden chairs can give would-be buyers the chance to picture their new lifestyle.”
With an increasing number of people spending more time at home, and even working from home, due to the Coronavirus lockdown, it’s little surprise that a garden, in particular, a south-facing garden is moving up the ranks of homebuyers’ most important property features. So, will this trend to buy houses with more outdoor space push the price of properties with south-facing gardens up even further, we wonder? Quite possibly, yes, we guess!
Would you pay more for a south-facing garden?