Aussie buyers choosing location over looks

Brendan Wong

When it comes to choosing a home, Australian buyers value a property's location over its condition, according to new research.

An independent study by Slater & Gordon Conveyancing has found Australians rank proximity to schools, and being close to work and public transport links as the three most important factors for a property.

General manager of personal legal services at Slater & Gordon, Lee Bailie, said sellers could be wasting their time sprucing up their property in time for the peak spring season as the condition of the property was rated the least important factor.

“Traditionally, the rule of thumb was first impressions count,” he said. “There has always been consensus that a property in good condition was more likely to sell, but this research suggests people are more likely to look past that.

“It’s also possibly reflective of the renovating trend we are seeing. People are buying with an eye to putting their own stamp on the property anyway.”

However, Mr Bailie added that it did not mean sellers should not try to position their property in the best possible light.

“People want to see that the house they’re interested in is very presentable, but what we are seeing is that people look beyond that when they’re actually looking at purchasing a home, and the factors that align themselves with that,” he said. It’s almost a work-life balance.

“It needs to be close to the schools for drop-offs and pick-ups and also, in the same vein, a large number of parents are both working these days [and] need to be able to get into the work environment.”

The number of bedrooms and the neighbourhood rounded out the bottom three house-hunting criteria.

A number of trends emerged from the online survey, which was completed by 2,000 Australians.

While Australian women listed schools as their top priority, men who lived in a capital city thought proximity to the CBD was more important.

People between 18 and 24 and living in a capital city also wanted to be close to the CBD, while those aged between 25 and 34, and 35 and 44, both said car parks and public transport were potential deal breakers.

Those aged between 45 and 54 and over the age of 55 wanted to be close to schools.

Mr Bailie added that one of the most interesting findings from the report was that Sydney was the only capital city where size of land was one of the top three priorities.

“Sydney has probably been on that growth pattern for longer than any of the other metro markets," he said. “Now it may have gone full circle, whereas for Brisbane and Melbourne and WA to a lesser extent we’re seeing people who aren’t so hung up on the size of the block where in Sydney they may be coming back.

“The other factor is seeing the older generation starting to be closer to the family unit now more so, with the grandparents potentially helping out on those school drop-offs.”

In the regions, age did not come into play, with all age groups citing proximity to schools as the most important factor to consider when buying a home.

Sydneysiders' top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools  
2. Close to work
3. Size of the land

Melburnians' top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools
2. Close to work
3. Close to transport

Brisbane residents' top 3 priorities

1. Close to schools
2. Close to work
3. Close to shops

Canberrans' top 3 priorities

1. Close to schools

2. Close to work
3. Close to transport

Perth residents' top 3 priorities

1. Close to schools

2. Close to transport
3. Close to work

Adelaide residents’ top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools
2. Close to work
3. Close to transport

Darwin residents’ top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools
2. Close to shops, work and transport (all ranked equally)
3. Size of the land

Hobart residents’ top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools
2. Close to work and transport (ranked equally)
3. Close to shops

Rural and regional Australians' top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools
2. Close to work
3. Close to transport

Brendan Wong

When it comes to choosing a home, Australian buyers value a property's location over its condition, according to new research.

An independent study by Slater & Gordon Conveyancing has found Australians rank proximity to schools, and being close to work and public transport links as the three most important factors for a property.

General manager of personal legal services at Slater & Gordon, Lee Bailie, said sellers could be wasting their time sprucing up their property in time for the peak spring season as the condition of the property was rated the least important factor.

“Traditionally, the rule of thumb was first impressions count,” he said. “There has always been consensus that a property in good condition was more likely to sell, but this research suggests people are more likely to look past that.

“It’s also possibly reflective of the renovating trend we are seeing. People are buying with an eye to putting their own stamp on the property anyway.”

However, Mr Bailie added that it did not mean sellers should not try to position their property in the best possible light.

“People want to see that the house they’re interested in is very presentable, but what we are seeing is that people look beyond that when they’re actually looking at purchasing a home, and the factors that align themselves with that,” he said. It’s almost a work-life balance.

“It needs to be close to the schools for drop-offs and pick-ups and also, in the same vein, a large number of parents are both working these days [and] need to be able to get into the work environment.”

The number of bedrooms and the neighbourhood rounded out the bottom three house-hunting criteria.

A number of trends emerged from the online survey, which was completed by 2,000 Australians.

While Australian women listed schools as their top priority, men who lived in a capital city thought proximity to the CBD was more important.

People between 18 and 24 and living in a capital city also wanted to be close to the CBD, while those aged between 25 and 34, and 35 and 44, both said car parks and public transport were potential deal breakers.

Those aged between 45 and 54 and over the age of 55 wanted to be close to schools.

Mr Bailie added that one of the most interesting findings from the report was that Sydney was the only capital city where size of land was one of the top three priorities.

“Sydney has probably been on that growth pattern for longer than any of the other metro markets," he said. “Now it may have gone full circle, whereas for Brisbane and Melbourne and WA to a lesser extent we’re seeing people who aren’t so hung up on the size of the block where in Sydney they may be coming back.

“The other factor is seeing the older generation starting to be closer to the family unit now more so, with the grandparents potentially helping out on those school drop-offs.”

In the regions, age did not come into play, with all age groups citing proximity to schools as the most important factor to consider when buying a home.

Sydneysiders' top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools  
2. Close to work
3. Size of the land

Melburnians' top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools
2. Close to work
3. Close to transport

Brisbane residents' top 3 priorities

1. Close to schools
2. Close to work
3. Close to shops

Canberrans' top 3 priorities

1. Close to schools

2. Close to work
3. Close to transport

Perth residents' top 3 priorities

1. Close to schools

2. Close to transport
3. Close to work

Adelaide residents’ top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools
2. Close to work
3. Close to transport

Darwin residents’ top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools
2. Close to shops, work and transport (all ranked equally)
3. Size of the land

Hobart residents’ top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools
2. Close to work and transport (ranked equally)
3. Close to shops

Rural and regional Australians' top 3 priorities:

1. Close to schools
2. Close to work
3. Close to transport

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