Why sunlight is such an important aspect [MUST READ]

17 May 2021

When we talk about aspect what we are really talking about is sunlight. Aspect infers the potential amount of sunlight from a compass bearing where direct sunlight would hit and enter through the windows of a property. It is often an overlooked and undervalued factor in any property purchase especially in low density neighbourhoods. A detached dwelling sitting on a generous lot, you could effectively manipulate the floorplan in order to achieve a favourable aspect.


What is a favourable aspect? It’s not just about where the sunlight is coming from but also which part of the dwelling it faces. In the southern hemisphere, a northern or north-eastern aspect to the living areas of the dwelling where we generally spend most of our waking time is preferred. Aspect must go hand in hand with ‘solar access’ This is a technical term used to relate to the amount of sunlight radiation that actually hits the property. A preferred northern aspect is useless if it is completely blocked by another building or trees reducing the amount of sunlight to the property.

In apartments and other high density neighbourhoods, aspect and solar access is particularly important. You may think can I compromise on sunlight if I can purchase an apartment on the wrong side of the best street in my favourite suburb?

Health and Sunlight

Sunlight is very important to human beings in general. Without delving into great detail, at a biological level. Human beings require sunlight for ultraviolet-B (UVB) -induced vitamin D production in the skin. A deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to weak bones, fatigue, poor immune system, depression, and can lead to other chronic diseases.

With insufficient access to sunlight, a property may become damp and dank. Mould can appear on walls and in clothes, it increases the likelihood of contracting tuberculosis and other respiratory problems. Sunlight is a matter of public health. Sunlight is nature’s Glen20.

It can satisfy our lighting and heating needs during the day reducing energy costs which can amount to hundreds of dollars every year.

The ‘Right to Light’

Despite its importance to our overall well-being, there is no ‘right to light.’ In NSW there is an express provision in the Conveyancing Act 1919 that states there is no right to solar access to or for any building ‘by reason only of the enjoyment of such access.’ Due to its nature, apartments can have issues with sunlight, and as a minimum requirement for new apartments. The State Environmental Planning Policy No. 65 sets out the minimum solar access standards for apartments. These design standards are:

  1. Living rooms and private open spaces of at least 70% of apartments in a building receive a minimum of 2 hours direct sunlight between 9am and 3pm in mid-winter in the Sydney Metropolitan Area and in the Newcastle and Wollongong local government areas
  2. In all other areas, living rooms and private open spaces of at least 70% of apartments in a building receive a minimum of 3 hours direct sunlight between 9am and 3pm at mid-winter
  3. A maximum of 15% of apartments in a building receive no direct sunlight between 9am and 3pm at mid-winter

These standards as well as general building height restrictions and floor space ratios can indirectly protect solar access for properties. As a requirement of the development application process, the impact of the proposed development upon neighbouring properties must be assessed prior to approval. We can conclude that the state government and local council will not impede development that may adversely affect someone’s solar access. Yes, there are minimum standards, but they are as stated ‘minimal.’

Searching for Sunlight

When we look at how aspect is advertised with property, it can been quite stretched in order to convey a favourable aspect despite not being a true reflection of its potential solar access.

The onus for identifying aspects and potential solar access is completely on you. The Buyer. We only really get about 10 minutes at an inspection at a particular time of day at a certain time of year. It’s important that you take this into account when inspecting properties. You have to ask yourself:

Is this light that we see in the 10 minutes inspection part of the 3-hour minimum for sunlight?

Are we seeing this property in winter or summer, what is the difference in sunlight?

In what rooms does the sunlight hit?

What is surrounding the property?

What is the zoning?

Could it be blocked out?

Alexander Gibson

Is the sun shining on your property search?

Recent Articles

Widen your understanding with these articles

The Ultimate Guide On How To Add Value To Your Property: Expert Tips

Are you a homeowner looking to boost the value of your property? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with expert tips and strategies to increase the value of your property. Whether you are planning to sell in the near future or simply want to enhance the market worth of your home, this guide has got you covered.

How Make An Offer On A Property (NSW)

Sick of auctions? How to make an offer on a property that is irresistible to the vendor

Do real estate agents have to disclose deaths

This tells you once and for all what real estate agent have to disclose in regard to death and the sale of property

Complete Guide: The hidden costs to buy a house

A complete guide to the costs of purchasing property

Do real estate agents lie about other ‘offers’?

Real Estate Agents are always under scrutiny in their day-to-day dealings. This is because of the nature of their industry, the stakes are at their highest. We are talking about the biggest asset purchase or sale in both the vendor’s and buyer’s lives. We are talking about risking their own money and debt. There is only one property available and there can be only one winner and everyone else is the loser. There are no prizes for coming in second.

Should I Buy or Sell First?

Should I Buy or Sell? The answer lies with you and your circumstances

What is a buyers agent

A buyers agent or buyers’ advocate is a licensed real estate agent who is procured by a prospective property purchaser to facilitate the acquisition of a property based on achieving the specific goals of the buyer. The buyers’ agent is tasked with sourcing, evaluating, appraising, negotiating, and securing property on behalf of their client.

What are buyers agent fees? How are they calculated?

In NSW, commissions are completely deregulated; meaning the fee and the structure is completely negotiable and this applies to buyer’s agents not just real estate agents.

Why are we still nervous in the face of economic uncertainty? Is now the right time to buy?

With the election over, have we become more certain about the future? Probably not.

Looking to ‘add value’ to the attic space of an apartment [Cautionary Tale]

A common marketing strategy for agents that sell top floor apartments is to spruik the potential to use the attic space as the main draw card for the property. But be careful, I’ll tell you why.