Tossing up between a bigger house in a less ideal location, or a smaller house in the suburb of your choice, is a dilemma that stumps many home buyers. Our latest research has some interesting findings.
New research from State Custodians reveals that when it comes to property, location location location really does count and that more people want to live in suburbs closer to their work and other amenities.
In a nationwide survey of 1,022 people conducted for State Custodians, more than one third of Australians (37 per cent) say they’d compromise on the size and quality of a home in exchange for a desirable location close to work, schools and socialising.
In comparison, 23 per cent say that they wouldn’t mind compromising on the location and would be prepared for a longer commute to get to essential areas as long as they got the home of their dreams in terms of quality and space. More women than men (26 per cent compared to 20 per cent) say a better house is more important than location.
Those aged 34–49 (44 per cent) and families who have children at home (45 per cent) say that a convenient location is more important to them. Baby Boomers aged 50 to 64 (27 per cent) say quality and size of their home is more important, compared to Millennials aged 18–34 (19 per cent).
Meanwhile, 17 per cent of respondents say they haven’t chosen either the best location or the best home for their purposes and that they just wanted to get their foot in the door with a home that was affordable. The remaining 22 per cent are living with their parents or in someone else’s house.
State Custodians' General Manager Joanna Pretty says proximity to work, family and friends is often a major factor when deciding where to live.
"Areas not too far from the city will always be in demand as for many people that’s where the main work and socialising hub is," she says. "In the past, it was possible for many people to live in areas that were not too far from a major city, where you could still get decent sized blocks for affordable prices. Nowadays, that’s an increasingly tall order."
"So, people are increasingly left in this tricky position of either choosing smaller, expensive dwellings to be closer to their work, or having a cheaper four or five-bedroom home in an outer suburb or town with a long commute to the city. It can be very difficult trying to decide which choice would ultimately fit in with your lifestyle more and what would be a good choice from an investment point of view."
Weigh up the pros and cons
So, what do you do if you’re having trouble deciding on the better option for you and your family? The first thing is to devise a list of pros and cons for each scenario. Write down everything you can think of. Then talk to family, friends and experts to gather differing opinions. Here are some main things to consider:
A bigger house/home of your choice in a less ideal location:
- More indoor space for families
- Generous outdoor space for kids and pets
- Possible views, peace, quiet and privacy
- Longer commutes to work, socialising and schools
- Time, money and energy needed for maintenance
- Further distances from essential services such as health providers and shops
A smaller house/home of your choice in a more ideal location:
- Shorter commutes to work and city socialising
- Less space to maintain
- Possibly less isolation
- Less indoor/outdoor space and kids possibly sharing bedrooms
- Typically more noise and less privacy
- More traffic, congestion and pollution
"Once you’ve listed as many pros and cons as possible, it should be easier to try and analyse which choice is right for you," says Ms Pretty. "It’s also important to take into account the personality of each family member. If you’re the type who gets irritated by sitting on a train or bus for a long time, then a long commute will ultimately wear you down. Similarly, if you detest the traffic and congestion of a big city then somewhere further out will probably make you happier. Take your time to make a decision as deciding where to live will have consequences for many years to come."
See if you qualify. To get a more accurate idea of how much you can borrow with State Custodians, click here.