Lo­ca­tion has a new mean­ing

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - PROPERTY -

LO­CA­TION, price and se­cu­rity are gen­er­ally the “big three” for home­buy­ers, and that will no doubt con­tinue to be the case, but the def­i­ni­tion of what makes a great lo­ca­tion ap­pears to be chang­ing, says Shaun Rade­meyer, CEO of bond orig­i­na­tor Bet­terLife Home Loans.

“The fo­cus used to be on po­ten­tial in­vest­ment re­turns, and buy­ers would scram­ble to buy in ar­eas which had proved to de­liver above-av­er­age prop­erty value growth, or where prices had con­tin­ued to rise even when the econ­omy was not do­ing so well. Now, how­ever, life­style fac­tors are com­ing to the fore.

“Buy­ers will target a cer­tain school they want their chil­dren to at­tend, and buy a home close to that school. Or they will buy in an area close to work so they don’t have to spend hours com­mut­ing, or in an area close to the beach or with a lively nightlife,” he says.

“The way they en­vis­age liv­ing in their new home and com­mu­nity has, in many in­stances, be­come more im­por­tant than the re­turns they stand to make when they sell that prop­erty. This is of rel­e­vance to sellers and their agents be­cause it presents an op­por­tu­nity to target buy­ers based on their in­ter­ests and pref­er­ences.”

Rade­meyer says the shift in pri­or­i­ties may have some­thing to do with that first-time buy- ers are much older, on av­er­age, than their par­ents were when they bought their first homes. They do not ex­pect, or want, to move as of­ten as their par­ents did.

“Many first-time home­buy­ers now are in their mid-thir­ties, and in many in­stances they are buy­ing a ‘ for­ever’ home in which they in­tend to raise their fam­ily and be­queath or sell to their chil­dren when they re­tire. They are look­ing for lo­ca­tions they feel will of­fer all the fa­cil­i­ties they need in the long term, and a com­mu­nity to which they can re­late.”

Sellers usu­ally fo­cus on the spe­cific de­tails and fea­tures of their homes, and for­get to paint a big­ger pic­ture for prospec­tive buy­ers. “Fac­tors like easy free­way ac­cess, great lo­cal schools, friendly neigh­bours, a lo­cal na­ture re­serve, a beach nearby or shops and restau­rants within walk­ing dis­tance of home can make all the dif­fer­ence when a buyer chooses your home over a sim­i­lar prop­erty in an­other area.”

South Africa is not the only coun­try where this is hap­pen­ing, he says. A US sur­vey showed home­own­ers wanted:

Ease of com­mut­ing by car – 38%.

Ac­cess to health and safety ser­vices – 34%.

Fam­ily- friendly bour­hood – 33%.

Prox­im­ity to shop­ping cen­tres – 32%.

Ac­cess to cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties – 21%.

Pub­lic trans­port ac­cess – 19%.

Nightlife and restau­rant ac­cess – 18%.

Easy ac­cess cour­ses – 6%. to neigh- golf

PIC­TURE: DAVID RITCHIE

Ac­cess to pub­lic trans­port and nearby shops and restau­rants is im­por­tant for home­buy­ers.

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