How much value does a good view add to your home?

A nice view is always a good selling point when it comes to a home. Buyers will have plenty of requirements in mind, ranging from adequate space to an ideal kitchen, but a beautiful vista is sure to impress them more than a panorama of other houses.

Since this feature will appeal to most buyers, it can usually be figured into the asking price for a home. How much value a view adds is up for debate, however.

Part of the reason for the variability of this factor is the simple fact that each buyer will have a different preference when it comes to what kind of view they would like. Some want a waterfront view, others prefer a mountain landscape, and still others prefer a view that includes a city skyline.

Some neighborhoods are also saturated enough with good views that they won't figure too heavily into the value. Tom Kelly, writing for the real estate site Inman News, says coastal cities will have plenty of properties with waterfront views and that values are driven more by the quality of the residence.

Of course, a home that faces a beautiful view instead of a brick wall will inevitably add some weight to a home's value. In a 1994 study, researchers Mauricio Rodriguez and C.F. Sirmans used multiple regression analysis to determine the value of a view in single family housing. The study sought to isolate this factor from other things that could influence the price, including the home size and age.

Rodriguez and Sirmans looked at 194 homes sold between 1985 and 1991 in Fairfax County, Virginia. Fourteen percent of these residences were considered to have good views, and the study concluded that this quality increased the home's value by 8 percent.

Kelly says the increase can be even higher in certain cases. A 1987 study of Puget Sound homes by Burnell Thorley compared the value of 94 subdivision lots using 14 different variables, including the view. Thorley's research found that the view sometimes accounted for half of the lot's asking price.

The home design site Apartment Therapy suggests the view can drive most of the cost of residences in cities and other congested areas, where homes at lower elevations will have impeded views. The site suggests that unobstructed views at lower levels can increase value by 1 to 2.5 percent while porches or rooftop decks with partially obstructed views can increase value by 3 to 5 percent.

Values start to climb more rapidly for unobstructed views. Apartment Therapy says views offered from a medium elevation can increase value by 6 to 8 percent, while views from a higher elevation increase value by 9 to 12 percent. Water views are considered particularly valuable, with the site suggesting that these can increase a home's value anywhere from 15 percent to 80 percent.

Kelly says in some areas, views are compared based on what you can see. For example, some waterfront views will be close enough to a beach to see incoming waves. Others will only be able to see the calmer water farther out, and they'll have a lower value.

Greg Geilman, a real estate agent with South Bay Residential in Manhattan Beach, California, says that it can be difficult to put a dollar value on a view. However, he suggests that even a limited view can increase the value of a Manhattan Beach home by $10,000, while especially impressive views can boost the value by more than half a million dollars.

Geilman classifies views in ascending order of value as "peek-a-boo," partial, premier, or panoramic. Peek-a-boo views offer only a glimpse at a vista and may only be visible from a single room. Buildings, trees, or other obstacles eclipse more than 50 percent of a landscape in a partial view. Premier views have minimal obstruction and are visible from several rooms. If impressive sights are visible all around the house, it is considered to have a panoramic view.

To assess the impact of a view on the value of home's in a neighborhood, Apartment Therapy says you can do some research and price comparison. Look for similar properties that have sold in recent months, determine how their views can be classified, and compare their sales prices. This exercise should give you an idea of how much views will drive up values in the market.

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