Kathryn Lee - 8 Jan, 2019

Why real estate liveability is as important as property location

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We’ve all heard the real estate chant ‘location, location, location’ when it comes to buying property. But now there is a new kid on the block called ‘liveability’, and this new ‘L’ word packs a definite punch.

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When it comes to buying or selling a property, the location has always been the most important factor as it plays a large role in dictating your home’s value. Plus, while you can alter your home’s style and features to add to its value, you cannot change the location of your home.

When it comes to location, you want your property to have a pleasant outlook. It’s also an advantage if it’s near transport, eateries, amenities and a short commute to the CBD.

So, how does real estate liveability compare to location?

What is real estate liveability?

Liveability is a living standard measure that refers to several crucial factors such as security, substructure and the surroundings, which affect everyday living.

Melbourne, Australian’s Victorian capital, claimed the ‘world’s most liveable city’ title for seven consecutive years. However, in 2018, the city slipped to second place, with Vienna claiming first prize. Osaka, Japan ranked third, and Calgary, Canada came in fourth. Sydney, New South Wales ranked fifth and Adelaide, South Australia ranked tenth.

The world liveability standard takes into consideration factors such as healthcare, crime rates, infrastructure, education and culture. These factors then create a Global Liveable Cities Index.

How can I measure real estate liveability?

When looking to buy property, it’s important to consider the liveability of the home. Applying this strategy means that you’ll look beyond the walls of a dwelling and its boundaries. Instead, you’ll focus on the local community and what surrounds your property, as well as its actual construction.

Measuring a home’s liveability is as simple as considering several factors such as:

  • Healthy living – A home that is walking distance to amenities encourages families to walk or ride their bike to and from these areas.
  • Green spaces – Studies suggest that connecting to nature lowers our stress levels, anxiety and depression.
  • Family activity – Dog parks, playgrounds, outdoor gyms and walkways are perfect for family outings. Plus, they motivate you to get off the couch.
  • Friendly neighbourhood – There’s nothing more heart-warming than friendly neighbourly greetings. A simple g’day makes a community warm and welcoming.
  • Recreational facilities – Rec centres, gyms and meeting places such as halls, ovals and clubs encourage community members to meet, connect and share their lives.

The CSIRO real estate liveability property appraisal

When accessing the liveability of a home, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) suggest that there are 17 factors you need to consider before buying.

Ask these questions when you inspect a property to assess its liveability:

1.The climate zone – What climate zone is the property situated in, and is the home thermally-efficient for this zone?

In Australia there are four specific climate zones:

  • Heating climate – areas that experience colder weather and need warming, such as Melbourne, Canberra and Hobart.
  • Mixed climate – areas that have moderate climates, including Adelaide, Sydney and Perth.
  • Cooling climate – areas that have hot, dry summers and cool winters, such as Brisbane, Alice Springs and Bourke.
  • Top End – hot, humid summers and warm winters, such as Broome, Darwin and Cairns.

2. Living Locally – Are there communal gardens, fresh produce markets and bike tracks and walkways in the area that encourage you to improve your lifestyle?

3. Orientation – Is the home facing the winter sun and away from the summer heat, reducing heating and cooling costs and increasing your comfort levels?

4. Cross-Ventilation – Can you open the home’s doors to create natural air-flow that cools the property?

5. Zoning – Are zones able to be created in the home by closing doors so that you only heat and cool specific areas?

6. Insulation – Does the property have insulation under the roof, in walls and above ceilings to control the heat?

7. Building material density – Have thermally-efficient building materials been used to construct the home so that it heats the property in winter and cools it in summer?

8. Windows – Are the home’s windows WERS-rated or double glazed to help insulate the glass?

9. Shading and sun control – Does the home have shading such as verandas, awnings, shutters and shade sails, as well as trees to help to control the sun?

10. Efficient heating and cooling devices – Are the home’s cooling and heating energy efficient?

11. Energy efficient lighting – Are the lights LED so they are cost-effective?

12. Cost-effective hot water system – Does the home have solar, electric heat pump, gas, or instantaneous gas hot water to reduce energy costs?

13. Solar photovoltaic (PV) system – Does the home have a solar system that reduces the use of conventional electricity?

14. Low water garden – Is the garden water-wise so that it requires little or no water?

15. Water efficiency devices – Does the home have low-flow showerheads and dual flush toilets to reduce the amount of water used?

16. Rainwater tanks – Does the home have a water tank that’s proportional to the size of the property?

17. Energy rating – state and national scheme – Is the property energy certified by a building professional?

If you answered ‘yes’, to most of these questions, then the property is considered to have a high liveability rating. Scores under 12 mean the home has moderate liveability, and homes under 8 have low liveability.

Are you interested in receiving a free property profile report on your home or suburb? eChoice’s expert team can help you understand the property market and then simplify the process of applying for a mortgage. We have access to hundreds of products, so we’ll find you a competitive rate.

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