Affordable, inner-city suburbs on top of buyers’ wish list

Buyers are ditching apartments and regional areas in favour of more affordable suburbs and inner-city markets, new data from NAB reveals.

And while 2021 was the year of the study or home office, the most important factor influencing Aussie buyers decisions now is how much they are prepared to borrow.

The NAB survey, which revealed the most important factors homebuyers weigh up when buying a property, showed that 74 per cent consider the amount of their loan as most important.

NAB Executive, Home Ownership, Andy Kerr said that lockdowns had shaped they way we live, but while demand for a study or home office was a top priority last year, along with a tree change, buyers were now looking for more affordable properties where prices haven’t risen as sharply.

“We know that lockdowns have reshaped how we live with many at home for longer periods,” Mr Kerr said.

“However, what we are now seeing is little green shoots of people returning to inner-city suburbs, looking for the balance of lifestyle and value as cities like Melbourne and Sydney have opened up. This has been aided by more subdued price growth in these areas.”

Mr Kerr said that while house price growth is beginning to slow down homebuyers are becoming increasingly concerned with value and lifestyle.

Source: NAB

“The trade-off between affordability and lifestyle has changed markedly throughout the pandemic, with choices around CBD proximity, additional space and price fluctuating over the last two years,” he said.

“It’s really important to look to the future for your lifestyle preferences to ensure the short-term hunt for value is the right choice for you long-term.”

The NAB survey of 370 property professionals also found 62 per cent of respondents considered good local shopping, restaurants and amenities as important when buying a property, 53 per cent said buying a house instead of an apartment was important and 52 per cent considered the size of the land.

In 2021, the ability to work flexibly and other lifestyle factors led to people moving away from the city areas to more regional locations. The survey data shows that twelve months on, buying in a metropolitan area (26 per cent) is considered somewhat more important than buying in a regional area (21 per cent).

Source: NAB

The amount they were prepared to borrow was the top consideration for homebuyers in every state, but particularly in South Australia, where 100 per cent of respondents put it at the top of their list.

Good local shopping also rated highly in every state, with SA again leading the way with 79 per cent of homebuyers considering it important.

In Western Australia three factors tied as the most important consideration, with 68 per cent of homebuyers listing the amount they were prepared to borrow, good local amenities and buying a house instead of an apartment as their top deliberation.

Having endured the longest periods of lockdown, having a study or work area was still considered important in Victoria and NSW.

“In each state there are different factors that impact what is most important when buying a home,” Mr Kerr said.

“Victorians still clearly value good public transport more than other states, a result of the move to the outer suburbs or regions during the past 18 months.

“The size of the property was a much more important factor for Queenslanders, while South Australians were influenced by the amount they are prepared to borrow.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.