Gardens and roof terraces add premium to most sought after properties

Gardens and roof terraces can boost the value of a property by as much as 30% or more in some cases, especially in sought after areas of London, research suggests.

As summer approaches and many home owners are this week visiting the Chelsea Flower show which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, the focus among buyers is very much on outdoor space.

According to agents Marsh & Parsons, two comparable properties in the same area could vary greatly in price due to the impact of a garden or an outside terrace.

The firm says that a well situated, sunny facing garden can significantly boost the price of a London property, compared to one without, by as much as 20% or more. As the weather improves the importance of a garden or alfresco space such as roof terraces, balconies and gardens becomes an essential must have for buyers.

‘Gardens and roof terraces can instantly add value to a property. It is more difficult to sell a house without a garden, especially in the middle of a pleasant summer,’ said Peter Rollings, chief executive officer of Marsh & Parsons.

‘As the sun beams across London, and people warm to the prospect of BBQs and outdoor socialising, people treat a garden as an essential part of a Londoners lifestyle,’ he added.

The firm has examples of how values can vary. In Notting Hill a two bedroom property with an outdoor patio garden is £30,000 more expensive than another comparable two bedroom property in the same building. That represents a premium of around 5% for a property of relatively the same size, on the same floor and in the same building and primarily due to one having a private balcony.

Another example is Lillie Road in Fulham, west London, where  two properties in the same street have vastly different prices. The two bedroom property is for sale for £470,000 but another of the same size but with the addition of as roof terrace is on the market at £650,000. That equates to a substantial 38% premium for the property which includes a roof terrace.

In the lettings markets gardens can create a different kind of issue. Landlords and letting agents are facing a growing problem of tenants drastically altering gardens and driveways, without permission, leading to costly work to restore them to their original condition, according to the Association of Independent Inventory Clerks (AIIC).

Examples of work done without the consent of the property owner include the creation of ponds, the installation of decking and paving, and large sheds and green houses.

‘Whether additional items and changes to a garden can be classed as an improvement is a decision for the landlord alone. Tenants should be advised to get written permission for any major or minor improvements they wish to make to the landlord’s garden, or property in general,’ said Pat Barber, chair of the AIIC.

‘Tenants responsibilities regarding gardens, according to most tenancy agreements, is to maintain the landlord’s garden and return it in the same, or similar condition, at the time of check in. Lawns, if tidy at check in, should be left tidy and borders weeded if this was the condition at the start of the tenancy,’ she explained.

‘Unfortunately untidy gardens are a common problem. The landlord should leave sufficient tools to enable a tenant to maintain the garden, especially if the property is fully furnished. If a let is taken on as unfurnished, it is the tenant’s responsibility to provide their own garden tools. However, if the landlord wishes to ensure that his garden is maintained, it is still sensible for tools to be provided,’ she added.

She also pointed out that gardeners are expensive and tenants are often shocked when they receive a hefty bill at the end of the tenancy if the garden is not maintained.

The most common changes tenants make are replacing lawns and borders with shingled areas, leaving garden ornaments and many old plant pots, digging in ponds and water feature and leaving garden sheds or green houses.