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Is neighbourhood more important than the property?

By George Hadgelias

It’s easy to be fixated on finding the “perfect place” when buying property, but experts say the neighbourhood it’s in is just as, if not more, important.

Executive chairman of WBP Group, Greville Pabst says home buyers and investors need to “take off the property blinkers” and carefully consider the neighbourhood a potential purchase is in.

“People fall in love with the notion of a ‘dream house’, but it doesn’t matter if you’re buying something to live in, or as an investment, specific location is absolutely critical as it drives value,” Pabst says.

“Proximity to a desirable village is almost like another bedroom these days. In some cases, the neighbourhood can be more important than the property itself.”

“We all need a roof over our head, but fundamentally, buying real estate is a financial investment and we all want that investment to grow. So, you want to buy in a location which has a history of growth and performance.”

Pabst, one of Australia’s leading property commentators, says it’s not just about picking the right suburb, or even the right street, to buy in.

“We all know, whatever suburb we live in, there are good streets and less desirable streets, but then there’s which side of the street or if it’s a block of apartments, which location the property has within the block – that matters too.

“Each of these factors impact on whether or not the property is going to be a good performer over time. You really need to drill down,” he says.

Amanda Jones from Hodges Sandringham in Melbourne agrees neighbourhoods matter.

“We’re definitely seeing that buyers are willing to sacrifice certain features of a property, like the size for example, if the neighbourhood is the prime attraction,” she says.

“Some buyers choose areas based on schools and parks, while others want a neighbourhood with shops, transport etc. It all comes down to their own individual needs,” Jones says.

Investors need to think about potential tenants, who want amenity and a great lifestyle, just like owner/occupiers.

“Many renters chose property after location and the best locations are always sought-after, even if they have to make compromises on the property itself. For any investor, I would say location is a key factor when looking at buying an investment property.”

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