BLOCKED: Are you buying a property with a view? [Guide]

19 October 2021

The view from the open house that you walked into last Saturday seems enticing. You can already imagine yourself lounging back, watching the sunset while sipping something refreshing. However, it may come as a shock to know that the view could be gone tomorrow. This is an article about what to look for when buying a property with a view.


Our affinity to views is rooted in our DNA as part of our survival instinct to be able to spot potential threats from a distance. Today, views are associated with solace and contemplation.

Without delving too deeply, it is generally agreed that a view adds a premium on the price that people pay for the property. However quantifying this into a dollar figure this is not an exact science. As it can lead to a philosophical debate between relativism versus objectivism of views.

A view can be considered as an absence of substantial obstruction over a wide span of land. The absence of obstruction is most crucial close to the viewpoint and then reduces with distance away from that point until any obstruction can be considered as part of the view itself. As a result, a view can potentially span over thousands of different properties.

All it would take is the approval of a development application or a vengeful neighbour with a green thumb. For that view to be blocked plunging the value of your property.


One of the most beautiful things about Australia and what sets us apart from the world is our superb provision of secure property rights.

Gone are the days of land ownership where boundaries extend to the centre of the earth and to the heavens above. Technically you own up to a height of reasonable use and below to reasonable use. This is subject to local land use and zoning controls that can change over time.

Essentially, you are free to do as you wish with your property as long as it does not impede law and local council controls. Local council controls generally regulate developments protecting the community. Ensuring they do not overly affect the amenity of someone’s property from a new development such as light.


A view and the amenity it may provide you are not considered sufficient grounds to stop a development. Local councils usually side with vegetation regarding trimming branches. The taller the tree, the stricter the controls

Hypothetically, if the Land and Environment Court sided with asserting the rights of ownership to or protection of views, it would provide a legal precedent that undermines property rights across New South Wales.

Insecure property rights will impact upon property values and people’s wealth and impede development in an expanding population. There is also an incentive for the government to expand their tax base. By facilitating more apartments for higher stamp duty collections by the state government and more council fees collected by the local government. Ownership of views is something that would never happen. So we very much have the situation of caveat emptor or buyer beware in regards to properties with views.

In terms of risk management, I prefer to mitigate potential risks rather than remedying them. As I always say you can solve the problems when selling your property when you first buy your property.

It is always important to understand the risks when considering buying a property with a view. Encompassing the likelihood of future obstruction to the view combined with the aesthetic value will provide you with an informed decision when purchasing such a property.

Alexander Gibson

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