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What is essential to a homeowner?



Safety, affordability, and no nasty mould or damp: these are the key criteria that everyday Australian homeowners have top of mind when searching for a place to live.*

Two out of three of those concerns can be quite readily addressed, regardless of where you wish to live, as safe and secure homes that are free of mould are relatively easy to come by.

It’s the ‘staying on budget’ part that has most Australians stumped.

In most of our capital cities (except Perth and Darwin), property values have never been so high. The median value in Sydney is a whopping $1.109 million and Melbourne is not far behind at $900,000.

Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth are less expensive, with medians of $480,000, $550,000 and $573,000 respectively, but with three out of four survey respondents reporting that sticking to a budget is their most essential criteria when buying a home, it’s easy to see why Australians are struggling to get a foot on the property ladder. 

Generational divide

The above findings form part of the 2015 Westpac Home Ownership Report, prepared in consultation with Lonergan Research, which was based on a study of more than 1,100 homeowners Australia-wide. Interestingly, (or perhaps bang on trend?) the study found that every generation holds different values for each aspects of the home.

For instance, while mould and damp is considered a major issue with Baby Boomers (91 per cent said having a home free of mould was essential), it was less of a concern with Generation X (81 per cent), and it dropped even further down the list of priorities for Generation Y (63 per cent).

The findings also challenge the long-held belief that a good view adds significant appeal and value to a property, as it revealed that just 15 per cent of respondents rate a good view as an essential ingredient of a home. Around 69 per cent of homeowners said it was ‘nice to have’ but by no means necessary, while 16 per cent relegated a pleasant outlook as being unimportant.

$20,000 for a secure carpark

Whilst the study threw up some fairly unsurprising results (buyers seeking affordability is hardly a new headline), there were some unusual findings in the mix.

For instance, how much is it worth to you to park your wheels inside a safe and secure lock-up garage each night? According to the study, which confirmed that off-street parking is a highly-ranked commodity, the average Australian is willing to pay an extra $19,828 for a home with a double lock-up garage.

In Sydney and Melbourne’s most highly-populated suburbs, many homebuyers are willing to hand over an extra $50,000 or even more for any sort of off-street parking. But secure, off-street, lock-up parking for two vehicles? That could surely add a couple of hundred thousand dollars to homes in the inner city.

For instance, to compare: here’s a three-bedroom period home for sale in the popular Melbourne suburb of Footscray. It has one bathroom and precisely no off-street parking, and it’s on the market for $640-690,000.

A short distance away in the same suburb, a three-bedroom home with far less street appeal—but with a second bathroom and a carport for two off-street parks—is asking $800-$850,000.

For family buyers looking to move into the area, a secure carpark could just be the feature that seals the deal on a property sale.

Is a bad case of FOMO prompting you to rush your property decisions? Don’t make these mistakes when buying in a hot real estate market >>

Source: *2015 Westpac Home Ownership Report
^CoreLogic Daily Index