Should I spend more on a south-west-facing or east-facing house?

June 2013

Question

We are considering two houses. On is south-west-facing (which is a bit more expensive) and the other is east-facing. I have heard that the aspect is important and that south-west is the best, but is it really worth the extra few thousand given the general lack of sunshine in Ireland?

Answer

You are correct in saying that the aspect of a house is considered important by some people but not by all and so it really depends on how important the aspect is to you.

If you have no issue with an east-facing garden then paying a premium for a south-westerly garden may seem extravagant, especially given the Irish weather.

Generally speaking east-facing gardens will get the sun in the mornings whereas south-west facing gardens tend to get it from early afternoon to sunset — but it does vary depending on the time of year.

The decision also really depends on your situation. If you are buying the house as an investment to achieve a rental income, then I would question the importance of the aspect.

However, if you are buying with the thought of resale value in mind, then there is no doubt that a south-westerly rear garden will be more sought-after and hence may achieve a greater return.

If the east-facing house needs some work and you are in a position to build an extension, there are very clever ways of maximising the light by using glass.

In truth the majority of buyers feel that a south-westerly garden is a bonus but the house itself, be it the design, finish and layout, will often outweigh aspect.

If you are buying the home to live in, then it is also worth considering building a raised patio area at the end of your garden to capture the last of the evening rays.

Ultimately, the demand from buyers in the market for both houses may determine which house you buy.

Felicity Fox is a chartered surveyor and member of the residential property group of the MediKids.