The fea­tures home­buy­ers want and what they’ll pay to get them

Herald Sun - Property - - FRONT PAGE - PETER FARAGO

SOME buy­ers are al­most step­ping out the dis­tance to the near­est train sta­tion when they’re look­ing for a new home.

New re­search from West­pac has con­firmed Vic­to­rian buy­ers are will­ing to pay nearly $44,000 more when buy­ing a house within a 30-minute com­mute to work.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­search, in to­day’s West­pac Home Own­er­ship Re­port, buy­ers are also happy to pay more than $22,000 ex­tra to get a dou­ble lockup garage.

Col­lec­tively, al­most three quar­ters of Aus­tralians would be happy to pay more for a property with a dou­ble lockup garage, ac­cord­ing to the re­search.

It’s not earth-shat­ter­ing news that prop­er­ties closer to the city are more ex­pen­sive, but ex­perts say prox­im­ity to train sta­tions and free­way on-ramps do come at a higher price be­cause peo­ple want to be closer to work.

Woodards, Oak­leigh, agent Chris Karantzas said the dif­fer­ence in the value of property within Hugh­es­dale and Oak­leigh — which have zone one train sta­tions — and Oak­leigh South — which doesn’t — is about 10 per cent.

“That equates to any­where be­tween $20,000 and $30,000,” Mr Karantzas said.

He said agents now made a point of ad­ver­tis­ing the walk­ing dis­tance to zone one train sta­tions.

“When we do open for in­spec­tions, peo­ple ac­tu­ally get off at ei­ther Oak­leigh or Hugh­es­dale sta­tions and walk to the property,” Mr Karantzas said. “I asked them how long it took and they said ‘five min­utes’. There you go.”

Mr Karantzas said the closer peo­ple lived to trans­port, the quicker they got to work.

“That’s why Ring­wood and those sub­urbs up there have changed in the past few years,” he said. “East­Link has opened up and East­land is spend­ing a buck­et­load up­grad­ing their shop­ping cen­tre, which is why that sub­urb has taken off.”

WBP Property chief ex­ec­u­tive Gre­ville Pabst said de­mand for fam­ily homes in Mel­bourne had re­mained strong de­spite pres­sure com­ing off the mar­ket for prop­er­ties un­der $1 mil­lion.

“Fam­ily buy­ers are look­ing for spe­cific things, like prox­im­ity to schools,” he said.

He said re­cent big sales in Kew were a prime ex­am­ple.

“In that lo­ca­tion, they share five of Mel­bourne’s best pri­vate schools,” he said.

“That prox­im­ity, whether it’s the Bal­wyn High School zone, Sackville Ward in Kew or Glen Waver­ley High School zone, al­ways holds up well.”

But Mr Pabst said prox­im­ity to a vil­lage and ac­cess to ameni­ties like cafes, restau­rants and par­tic­u­larly train sta­tions, were key draw­cards but were “not the be all and end all”.

“There are some sub­urbs that don’t have pub­lic trans­port but are still stel­lar per­form­ers,” he said. “El­wood is one sub­urb that doesn’t have a rail­way sta­tion and Bal­wyn North is an­other, but you still at­tract good re­sults.”

Mr Pabst said car park­ing added more value to a property the closer it was to the city.

“If you are within that in­ner ring of sub­urbs (within 5km of the CBD) car parks can be worth up to $30,000 to $40,000, adding to the value of a property,” he said.

“I think a garage is a de­sir­able fea­ture, but as you get into the sub­urbs, car park­ing is less re­stric­tive. While it is more de­sir­able to have one, it doesn’t at­tract the same pre­mium as in the in­ner city.”

The West­pac re­search showed a safe area was es­sen­tial for seven out of 10 buy­ers, while a quiet, non-in­dus­trial area away from busy roads was a must for 62 per cent. A pool was es­sen­tial for just 5 per cent of Vic­to­rian home­buy­ers.

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