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Buyers hot for fireplaces

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Friday, April 11, 2014
Posted: 8 am ET

In the wake of the frigid weather that swept across much of the country this winter, homeowners may have had dreams of gathering around a roaring fire. In fact, fireplaces do more than provide a comfortable place to roast marshmallows. They also add value to a home, according to John Walsh, president of Total Mortgage Services in Milford, Conn.

3-fireplace"Properties in some boroughs of New York City with wood-burning fireplaces can add as much as $10,000 to $100,000 in value," he says, depending on the material used and the number of fireplaces in any given home or apartment. Even fireplaces that are purely decorative can add $5,000 to $25,000 in urban areas like New York City, he added.

Value and efficiency

While brick or stone fireplaces might boost value by $2,500 to $25,000 in suburban Northeast markets, less-expensive gas fireplaces, pellet stoves and inserts are attractive because they provide heating efficiency, Walsh says. They are also considered to be safer than traditional, wood-burning fireplaces.

The rising cost of traditional heating fuel over the past five to 10 years has resulted in increasing demand for natural gas and pellet stoves in cold-weather climates as an additional or alternative home heating source, says Walsh.  "Properly installed by a professional, these stoves and fireplaces can produce a higher concentration of usable heat as compared to traditional wood-burning fireplaces, which experience a greater level of heat loss," he adds.

But efficiency aside, gas and pellet stoves can't replicate the mesmerizing effect of a crackling, wood-burning fire, Walsh acknowledges. "They do lack some of the sight, smell and sound appeal of an open hearth fireplace."

Check out this gallery of cool homes with fireplaces in the five hottest markets.

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1 Comment
jill bigham
April 12, 2014 at 11:43 pm

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