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The 4 Factors Which Determine a Community’s Liveability

By George Hadgelias

Liveability is a concept buyers hear a lot about — but what does it really mean and how do you know you’ve found it?

If you’re on the hunt for your first home or a brand-new home, no doubt you’ve heard of liveability.

It’s a concept that refers to how a location enhances our health and wellbeing in everyday life and these days, is considered an absolutely critical benchmark when finding a great place to live.

For homebuyers starting out, the Stockland Liveability Index is a great resource to help identify liveable features and communities that score highly.

Set up in 2011, the index surveys over 2000 residents annually across 40 Stockland communities.

It gauges how key factors which influence the liveability of new developments change over time, Mike Davis, Stockland Executive General Manager, Master planned Communities, explains.

“It highlights what is important to our residents in driving their overall satisfaction and happiness about where they live, as well as what we can do to improve current and future communities,” Davis says.

Here are some of the key aspects to be on the lookout for.

1. A sense of belonging

Nothing feels better than walking down the street and greeting your neighbours. It’s a simple thing, but one that makes you feel like a genuine part of the local fabric.

A community needs to be set up to foster organic connections and long-term relationships between residents, Davis says.

“This may be demonstrated in the community by special events and amenities that help residents stay connected and keep the friendships they’ve been able to make,” he says.

A good example initiative is Stockland’s partnership with the Western Australian RSPCA offering free dog training classes. These classes improve pet behaviour, but they also get local residents interacting.

2. Nearby amenities

Being within easy reach of supermarkets, work and natural outdoor amenities matters, as nobody wants to drive a long way for a bottle of milk or a morning jog.

Angus Moore, economist, says connectivity is valuable to owner occupiers, but it should also be a priority for investors, as their tenants will want to be well connected too.

“Public transit access, walkability and access to major road corridors are some things that make a big difference,” Moore says.

“These make life and the commute easier, and the data shows that connectivity is something people really place a lot of value on.”

A high-scoring suburb for connectivity is Amberton Beach in Perth, which rated 84% in this category on the index.

Located 48km north of the CBD, it’s a friendly coastal community where residents can walk to the beach or drive to nearby shops in a few minutes.

Plus, connectivity is set to improve with a future train line and freeway extension earmarked for the area.

Society also has a renewed focus on health and wellbeing, so features like gyms, pools and sporting reserves are essential.

Davis says look out for infrastructure like walkways, parks and public fitness equipment, but also community initiatives that encourage participation like the Live Life, Get Active program.

Scoring a whopping 90% in the health and fitness category is Stockland’s North Shore community in Townsville.

Wellbeing highlights include access to beaches, 41km of walkways, sporting fields, a local swimming pool, medical centre, locally run boot camps and regular park running events.

3. Safety and beautiful streetscapes 

Australians value feeling safe in their own homes, plus they want a suburb that looks presentable too.

To ensure Stockland communities stay in good nick and attract good residents, some neighbourhoods have local Style Guidelines that align with the target market’s values, Davis says.

Highlands a community in Melbourne currently has 11,000 residents and has a community program encouraging landscaped front yards and provides tips on how to care for streetscapes.

Preservation of the local lake and creeks is also promoted, and as a result a high number of residents report feeling safe and secure in their surrounds.

4. Sustainability

It’s no secret that sustainability is coming to the forefront for many buyers.

“We’re certainly seeing homeowners interested in sustainable features, such as good energy efficiency or having solar panels to help with utility costs,” Moore shares.

“But also from an environmental standpoint, having access to public transit, living in walkable neighbourhoods, makes a big difference too.”

Kicking goals on the sustainability front is The Gables, a master-planned community in Sydney’s beautiful Hills district where homes have a 6-star Green Star rating and unprecedented water-efficiency standards.

Using rainwater tanks and water recycling systems, residents can save up to 70% of their drinking water, which means less pressure on local water networks and lower water bills.

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