What should I prioritise when buying property? Urban data reveals buyer priorities in house hunting

Olivia RoundAugust 11, 20210 min read

Buyers have been evaluating what is vital to them when looking for their future house since the COVID-19 lockdowns.

People are spending more time at home than ever before, with international travel off the table and border closures looming. Alongside record low loan rates, people are motivated to hunt down properties that suit their changing lifestyle better. 

According to a survey conducted by Urban, here are the following features that buyers are prioritising in 2021:

Would you rather have a prime location or top-notch on-site amenities?

Our research found that 65% of Urban users surveyed prefer to be in a good location over the 35% that prefer having access to on-site amenities. It is possible that being in a good location means that the surrounding neighbourhood is where the resident spends the most time and has the amenities that residents are looking for.

Focusing on location would also be beneficial in the long run because of investment opportunities where not only can buying in a rising area provide convenience and improved liveability, but it may also be a sensible approach to ensure your property retains its value. 

To identify a suburb that is likely to be coveted and will retain value over time, our Home Buyer Guide explains location indicators to take into account.

There are some stand-out properties that have the perfect combination of a great location and extensive on-site amenities, for example, Ivanhoe Gardens by Blue Earth Group. The development is located just off Bell Street in Ivanhoe and has a creative on-site amenity list that includes everything from a kids zone, art room and co-working spaces to car and dog washing facilities, click ‘n’ collect (with chiller storage), wine cellars, and even cafe and massage studios available for lease. 

We found that the top enquires on location the past 3 months have been:

  • VIC - Footscray, Brunswick, Keysborough, Southbank, and Melbourne
  • NSW - Schofields, Auburn, Arncliffe, Zetland and Penrith
  • QLD - Surfers Paradise, Main Beach, Palm Beach, Kirra and Broadbeach

What’s a bigger dealbreaker – not enough storage or no parking space?

Another survey we conducted found that there was almost a split reaction for a dealbreaker between not having enough storage with 48% and no parking space with 52%.

As a builder or architect, layouts must be taken into account for practicality and comfort. According to the Urban survey, the majority of respondents prioritise parking space over storage.

Alexandra Koster of finder.com notes that there are over 17 million cars in Australia, 92.5% are households with around 1.8 cars per household. With this being said, it is more convenient and budget-friendly for homes to have enough parking space. According to the data from Urban, there are 72.4% of buyers enquiring for at least 1 parking space in Victoria in the past month. 

What features make homes more appealing?

After the pandemic, we start to realise how important it is to be surrounded by loved ones, whether it be spending quality time with family or staying in the privacy of your bedroom.

Based on our research, 83% prefer to spend time in the living room as it is a place for families to come together to relax and entertain guests. In contrast, 17% prefer to be in the bedroom where there is more privacy and is typically smaller than the living room.

For the ideal living room space, there should be ample natural light (north facing window), easy flow to the dining and kitchen areas, and a comfortable place to relax and be entertained. 

According to BuildSearch, “The average room size in Australia varies depending on the room use. For example: A living room will generally be around 25m2, an average bedroom size will be 14m2 and a kitchen 13.5m2.” 

Design features that make more appealing homes: 

  • Study nook in the living area: Enables people to work out of their bedroom when working from home
  • Open living space: A good flow and maximum light that connects the living, kitchen and dining areas
  • Up-to-date appliances in kitchens
  • Flexible space
  • Large closet space in bedrooms
  • Smart home technology: To save energy costs and control programs remotely

In the past 6 months, people have been looking for 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom configurations with a $600-800k budget around Queensland and Victoria. With 37.1% looking for 2 bedroom layouts and 26.6% looking for 3 bedroom layouts.

If you are looking for properties that are more likely to achieve greater resale value, keep location, parking space and an appealing living room area at the top of your list. Depending on your budget and personal requirements, if you can find a home with a location worth investing in, a home that has at least one parking space and enough storage throughout, and a spacious living room that flows easily through other spaces of a home.

Do you agree with these results? Let us know your opinions in the comments section.

Olivia Round

Olivia Round is the Features Editor of urban.com.au. Olivia specialises in news reporting, in-depth editorial content and video + podcast interviews with industry experts.
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