“The development and adoption of a district plan provides the community with an important tool for ensuring the integrity and sustainability of the area’s unique cultural resources and for managing the impacts of cultural tourism on the environment.” – (source)
Of the benefits of heritage conservation areas (HCAs), the City of Victoria states, “Heritage conservation areas help to protect the character and charm of the special places in Victoria and help to shape the unique identity of a neighborhood within the community as a whole. Heritage is all about understanding the value of our community’s past, what makes us who we are and what we wish to become. Our history is our future…and our future will become our history.” (source)
Although not based on BC’s legislation, Heritage Conservation Districts, which is part of the Ontario heritage toolkit, offers benefits that are relevant for the BC context:
Property Value and HCAs
A typical fear of property owners is the loss of property value on the real estate market, but the evidence suggests this is generally not the case.
Several studies explore the relationship of property valuation and designation and register listing. While the comparisons are challenging, the evidence indicates heritage-designated properties are more likely to increase in commercial value.
Perhaps the most compelling research comes from Robert Shipley, who wrote in Heritage Designation and Property Values: Is there an Effect?:
“Almost 3,000 properties in 24 communities were investigated, in what is believed to be the largest study of its kind ever undertaken in North America. It was found that heritage designation could not be shown to have a negative impact. In fact there appears to be a distinct and generally robust market in designated heritage properties. They generally perform well in the market with 74% doing average or better than average. The rate of sale among designated properties is as good or better than the ambient market trends and the values of heritage properties tend to be resistant to down-turns in the general market.” (source)
“The rate of sale among designated properties is as good or better than the ambient market trends and the values of heritage properties tend to be resistant to down-turns in the general market.”
The following information comes from one of the largest Canadian studies, which surveyed 24 Ontario communities and 3,000 properties. Some of the findings found in this report:
Taking a closer look, the study indicates approximately 59% of the heritage properties performed better than the average property. 15% of the heritage properties were comparable to the average price trend. And 26% performed below the average price trend. This suggests that three out of four times, a heritage property will sell at the same price or better than the average market. Looking at individual communities, we can see some performed extremely well:
There was only one exception to this trend that was revealed in this Ontario study:
The author of the Ontario study also looked at the effect of a market downturn.
That means, nearly 80% of the heritage homes held their value or did better during a repressed period. The same author produced a report in 1992 that focused on heritage homes in London, Ontario. While it is an older report, it suggests heritage real estate has held a certain strength in the market for a while. The research showed 64.4% of individual designated properties performed better than the average real estate market. Another 33.3% were consistent – or held their own – with the market. Only 2.2% performed below average real estate market. Acknowledging this is a smaller, restricted sample, this report suggests 97.8% of heritage properties did as well or better in the real estate market than non-heritage properties.
More information can be found on Heritage BC’s webinar-on-demand, Heritage Real Estate: Principles and Practices.