Home offices and study nooks high on buyer wishlists as working from home continues

Before and after: Watson resident Tania Jario converted her wardrobe into a study nook. Pictures: Supplied
Before and after: Watson resident Tania Jario converted her wardrobe into a study nook. Pictures: Supplied

With many Australians working and learning from home right now, office spaces and study nooks have become one of the most important parts of the house.

Even as lockdowns lift and life gets back to normal, the work from home set-up is here to stay, with recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealing 33 per cent of Australians want to continue working from home after COVID-19 restrictions ease.

For buyers, that means home office space is high up on the wish list, according to Mario Sanfrancesco of Blackshaw Real Estate Manuka.

"There's no doubt there's been a shift towards working from home office space being important to buyers," he said.

One of his listings, 18 Green Street, Narrabundah, is gaining interest for its large floorplan, which includes a dedicated study with room for two people to work side-by-side.

Mr Sanfrancesco said some buyers were also looking for more substantial home office set-ups.

18 Green Street, Narrabundah features a large home office, ideal for Canberrans working from home. Picture: Blackshaw Real Estate

18 Green Street, Narrabundah features a large home office, ideal for Canberrans working from home. Picture: Blackshaw Real Estate

"In that particular house, there's a guest room on the lower level that has a bathroom and it also has separate access from the front of the house," he said.

"So I've had some people looking at it that don't specifically need it as a fourth bedroom, who have a serious work from home set-up ... this house accommodates that type of requirement as well."

But for smaller properties without a dedicated office area, home owners are finding creative ways to transform existing spaces.

Watson resident Tania Jario converted part of her walk-in wardrobe into a stylish study nook, which she said was a cost-effective and simple project.

With the help of a builder, she added a piece of plywood over the existing white wall and used a piece of wood for the desk.

"Then it was just a matter of popping in a power point for computer, which the electrician was able to do really easily because there was one on the other side in the ensuite," said Ms Jario.

"In terms of being cost-effective, there was almost no money [spent on] it at all.

"Now when you walk in, instead of seeing the end of the wardrobe, you see the study - it's a really nice visual. I do quite a lot of work from there so it's been really functional as well."

Bree Prince of Hive Property Canberra said a study or office space was a strong selling feature of any home, particularly apartments.

"Apartment living to me is very much about being clever with design and space," she said.

"If people can be creative in how they add a study - maybe it's a study nook that you can put a door on - I think that is going to add a lot more value [to the home]."

506/19 Marcus Clarke Street, City features a designated study, plus an extra study nook. Picture: Hive Property Canberra

506/19 Marcus Clarke Street, City features a designated study, plus an extra study nook. Picture: Hive Property Canberra

One of Ms Prince's current listings, 506/19 Marcus Clarke Street, City, is gaining interest from buyers due to its dedicated study, plus a second flexible space that can be used as a workspace.

"I've got a buyer that's really interested. Both of them work from home and they were really attracted to the fact that they could buy a two-bedroom apartment and both have [work] space without having to take up the second bedroom," she said.

While there's no exact dollar figure for the value a home office can add to a property, Ms Prince said sellers could definitely benefit from the extra space.

"What I'm finding is that the majority of buyers are looking at the floor plan first ... and if the floor plan doesn't work for them, then they just rule it out completely," she said.

"I think having [office space] as a bonus, that's going to open [the home] up to a lot more buyers which eventually would push the price up because you're going to have more competition for that particular property.

"At the moment, if you were building a house or renovating a house and you were tossing up, 'Do I put a designated study in'? I would absolutely do it."

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This story How a quick bit of DIY can increase the value of your home first appeared on The Canberra Times.