The humble grass lawn can add up to $83,600 to the value of a property, according to a national survey of residential real estate agents.
The survey, conducted by Turf Australia, a representative body of the turf industry, found lawns offer Victorian properties the highest value, adding 19 per cent to the price of a home, ahead of New South Wales which can add 16 per cent, while Queensland and South Australia sit at 12 per cent, respectively, and Western Australia nine per cent.
In Sydney where the average house price is $440,000, a lawn could add $83,600 to the price, while Melbourne buyers could pay up to $79,800 more on an average home worth $420,000.
A third of the real estate agents surveyed said buyers believe a lawn adds to the look and feel of a home, while 73 per cent said buyers wanted a safe playing area for their children.
But it’s not only families who want a lawn, according to real estate agents; young couples and upsizers also believe in the benefits of grass, and a majority of their buyers want a backyard to be at least 30 per cent of their total property size.
Janusz Hooker, chief executive of LJ Hooker, said house hunters factor in specific requirements such as a lawn or a backyard as part of their criteria and budget.
“Australians have changed their ideals for a backyard but a townhouse or larger suburban home with an area of grass is still important in 2012,” Mr Hooker said.
While agents believe 25 per cent of buyers are savvy about the long-term benefits of a lawn, those selling need to also recognise the potential resale value of a lawn.
“For sellers, the key is to put some time into making the lawn look well-cared for and perfect for the new owners – that’s how they’ll capitalise on the added value a lawn can offer,” Mr Hooker said.
The survey also reveals that real estate agents believe a decent sized backyard is among the top three prerequisites for house hunters for 34 per cent of buyers, along with a quiet street (41 per cent) and more than one bathroom (42 per cent).
“It’s clear that Australians love the real stuff, with nine in 10 agents saying buyers feel their future backyard should be real grass, rather than less natural options such as pavers, synthetic grass, decking and concrete,” landscaper, horticulturist and TV personality, Jody Rigby, said.
These comments follow recent media attention regarding nation-wide community concern regarding the potential dangers of rubber, lead and other carcinogenic toxins often found in synthetic turf.
“Most residential varieties of turf, for both warm and cooler climates, are very hardy and can easily withstand constant summer fun and games. New types of grass are not as thirsty as many believe, and, of course, all have great environmental benefits,” Ms Rigby said.
“It’s the Australian way of life to grow up running around in the backyard, and it’s not as hard as many think to keep a lawn looking beautiful and green, despite the kids’ wear and tear.”