Gas fireplaces trump wood fireplaces – according to Real Estate Agents.

If you ask us, every home needs a fireplace. Something to not only create a warm and comfortable home but a gathering point that draws us in and centres us.  And it's not just us that feel that way, according to New Zealand and Australian Real Estate Agents, homeowners and renters want fireplaces too.  

We spoke to 3 Real Estate Agents across Australia and New Zealand about property trends in the wake of COVID-19 and what prospective homeowners were asking for.

Jamin Sulluzio, Managing Director of Jellis Craig, Eltham has been in the property industry for 15 years, and always in the North Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne.

According to Jamin, COVID19 has had a big impact on the property market with people wanting to improve their homes. Open-plan layouts, connection with light and multiple living spaces were high on the wish list for homeowners and falling into the top 10, Fireplaces.

“Melbourne has 4 seasons in one day so there is definitely a need for it, and a lot of people are shying away from ducted heating” Jamin says, “people are clearly seeing the benefits when they know they’re going to be spending more time there [at home]”.

But a lot has changed when it comes to the way our homes function, and ourselves within them. Every year as a society, we get busier with less time to maintain the home and more reliance on smart technology that can be integrated into our daily lives.  In fact, in 2021 smart technology has gone from being a novelty to a necessity.

It’s for this reason that Jamin says the demand for gas fires in Melbourne easily trumps the demand for woodfires. “Gas would be in higher demand because of the convenience. I think that’s the obvious choice”, Jamin says “as people are usually time-poor.”

The convenience ranges from their install flexibility to their low maintenance nature – with no need to stack wood or split kindling, and no need to faff around with a chimney.  But it's not just about how the fire interacts with your daily lifestyle, but the aesthetics and function of the home.

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Escea DS1150 Single Sided Gas Fireplace

In 2021, particularly in dense cities like Melbourne, there is an increased need for clever designs that get the most out of smaller spaces. “If we’re talking about a typical Melbourne townhouse, it can’t afford a massive feature fireplace “, Jamin says, “so it’s about incorporating it into the design.” There’s a big trend towards seamless, inbuilt fireplaces that are integrated into the room without being a major feature, “it’s got to function”, he says.

That’s where Escea’s flexible flue technology has an edge – with the ability to place the flue in any direction, through walls and under floors, the possibilities for bespoke designs are endless, opening up a realm of opportunity in spaces that wouldn’t normally be utilised.  Escea gas fires can even be installed in the middle of the room, as a striking room divider that connects two spaces.

Jamin says he would encourage anyone considering adding a gas fire to their property to do so, as it adds to the room’s narrative, bringing it to life “it’s a part of the story of that room, and what that room's purpose is” he says.

“People have worked out what they want to spend their money on. What gives them a feeling of lifestyle even when they can’t do the things they thought they’d be doing” That’s where the fireplace comes in – “It creates a feeling that is beyond the value, as well as an improvement on the asset”.

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MODE Peninsula Gas Fireplace

Across the ditch in Auckland, gas fires continue to trump wood fires when it comes to home heating.  John Q is a Licensee Salesperson for Ray White, Remuera with almost 15 years’ experience and also identifies indoor-outdoor flow and diverse entertainment areas, including fireplaces, as one of the top things that home buyers are asking for.

“Fireplaces are a highlight in the home and provide warmth and a place to gather. When looking for a home, it’s easy to imagine sitting around the fireplace and relaxing with family and friends” – John Q

In Auckland, John says, the demand for gas fires is also higher than wood fires as “many buyers are looking for renovated or modern homes” with “maximum heat output and comfort”.

Escea gas fireplaces come with smartphone integration allowing the fireplace to be controlled from your mobile phone, even when you’re not home. This technology is perfect for modern homes and busy lives as it means you can walk right into warmth after a long winter’s day.

When asked about whether a wood or gas fire would add more value to a home John says this depends on the buyer, saying that while there is undoubtably something special about watching a woodfire and taking in the fragrance of burning wood in the home “a gas fire means no clean up, [it can be] instantly turned on and off and provides beautiful warmth. Many people prefer this”.

“I would always recommend a gas fireplace if the home allows for it as it’s always a key feature in a home.” – John Q.

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Spartherm Freestanding Wood Fire

Richie Heap, Real Estate Agent for Colliers, Queenstown has 9 years’ experience in the area and says that in extreme winter climates like Queenstown and Central Otago, heating is a big consideration when it comes to buying a home.

“A lot of boxes need to be ticked around that because as you can imagine, it gets freezing.”

Richie also notes that the demand for gas fires far succeeds the demand for wood - in particular, Escea gas fires - not only for their good looks, but their convenience and impressive heat output.

“Escea gas fires have always sold well, I originally got an Escea more as a feature but when I went to use it, I said ‘Holey Moley these things really work!’”

Escea gas fires boast up to 10.4 kW in heat output, with a higher efficiency rating than most traditional wood fires which makes them a perfect fit for homes in colder climates.  

“Life’s changed” says Ritchie “people look at an open wood fire and say, what do I do with that?”

The other reason homeowners are opting for gas is its suitability for rented properties. “Its now become regulation” Richie says, “You’ve got to have good insulation and heating source – you can’t mess it up with gas.”

“I’d be doing a nice gas fireplace – because of the ease. It helps with resell ability” - Ritchie Heap

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Escea DF700 Gas Fireplace

In alpine environments, having a good heating source is even more important. In Queenstown, there is an abundance of rental properties and many of them with old, dated open woodfires which Richie says are no good for rentals.

Gas fires are a great solution here, particularly Escea’s DF Series which is ideal for retrofitting into existing fireplace cavities, replacing an old open fire with an efficient, room sealed gas fireplace. The DF Series comes in a range of sizes to fit into heritage fireplace surrounds and utilises Escea’s flexible flue technology, so the flue can be run right up the existing chimney.

In the wake of COVID19, Ritchie said homeowners were forced to think about where they wanted to spend time and the value they placed on their homes.

“People realise they’ve got more time in their houses and they want them to be comfortable and nice – a fireplace creates that [feeling], and it just adds value, doesn’t it.” – Ritchie Heap

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