Why we love Federation Homes

Period houses offer top-value because they are finite in number, have been built to last and have a strong sense of heritage and history.

By Steve Lowe

Period houses offer top-value because they are finite in number, have been built to last and have a strong sense of heritage and history.

In Canberra, Federation homes enjoy strong demand. Experts say houses built before WWII are now proving to be strong investments because supply is increasingly limited as buyers desiring more modern homes send in the demolition crew.

A Federation period home is a mixture of Edwardian and Queen Anne architecture and built between 1885 to 1910. Australia’s federation was in 1901.

Many of Sydney’s Federation homes have the majestic features of the 18th Century Queen Anne style – steep roofs, spectacular stained glass windows and towering chimneys. They have large porches perfect for a warm summer’s evening.

They will be of red brick that is enhanced by fretwork and terracotta tiles. The roofing is often galvanised iron and slanted steeply. Among their other distinctive features and the gables, eaves timber brackets.
To many buyers, these features scream traditional Sydney and therefore command a high premium.

They may also provide a fantastic opportunity for renovation. Significantly, Federation homes are built on larger than average blocks of land in Sydney and the surrounding basin, and this contributes significantly to their value.

Analysis shows between 70 to 80 per cent of the value of a purchase is wrapped up in land value.

Investors see a Federation property as a wonderful long-term investment or a short-term gain by flipping when renovation work is completed. Finding a great investment requires a fine eye for detail, however.

Wealth creation is not limited to the house itself. Buyers should consider the type of suburb, the size of property and the quality of the building before gauging whether it is a suitable investment.

Whether you are investing or buying a Federation-style property for your own home, it is critical that you conduct your own research on the local market. Complement this with advice from professionals, such as a builder and real estate agent.

Federation homes are beautiful but be sure to take the emotion out of the decision, to avoid the risk of paying over the odds.

Four tips for finding the best value period homes:

1.Find a strong or stable suburb in terms of prices

2.Look for character homes on good streets

3.Find out how similar properties have performed in the suburb in terms of time-on-market and sale price; and

4.Understand the optimal size and condition of the house to evaluate possible renovation costs and potential for re-sale


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