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Why location is still king of the castle

We’ve all heard the term location, location, location, but is location the biggest factor when it comes to choosing a property?

Often location is the biggest factor, but not for the reasons you may think. Of all the criteria that comes along with owning a property, the location and all its related components – area, position, orientation – are one of the few things that cannot be changed.  A tired old kitchen can always be replaced, a second storey can be added and a new garage can be installed. Even rendering can bring a vintage property into the new century. But buy next to an industrial plant or highway and your choices become very limited.

So what makes a great location and how can we ensure that we’re ticking all the boxes when we search for properties ourselves? Here are some of the most important aspects to keep an eye out for on your next inspection day…

Convenience:

These days, time is a factor for everyone. Those suburbs that are already close to work and centrally located are considered prime spots. Walk Score (http://www.walkscore.com) even rates suburbs on how easily you can get around on foot.

If getting around on foot isn’t an option, then convenience to transport routes is important. Suburbs that have train stations also tend to do well as it not only saves time in traffic but also reduces the reliance on cars. For investors this can be paramount, as tenants will typically be more price sensitive to living costs and may rely on public transport.

Quality of life:

Everyone likes to come home to a clean and safe environment where they can spend quality time with friends and family. That means areas with green space and cafes are ideal. Suburbs that are located close to the water – beach and harbor – act as an area where communities can gather and spend time together, exercise or simply enjoy the ambience.

Needless to say, areas that are loud and that are located close to manufacturing precincts, rail lines or highways are not conducive to good health and carry a stigma that will tend to put a glass ceiling on prices.

Additionally, while quiet enough in the day, close proximity to clubs, pubs and fire stations, can often be quite an earful at night.

Education:

While convenience to work can be a major factor in where people are attracted to, proximity to schooling and school catchment areas play an increasing importance in where people wish to buy. One street here or there can mean all the difference between getting into the desired school so do some research on the area prior as your location in a catchment area can make a huge difference. This is a factor that is only set to grow in importance as the number of foreigners who place a strong cultural emphasis on education increase in Australia.

Orientation:

Unless you’re looking to knock the property down and start again, the orientation of the block in which you’re located will always remain the same. In the southern hemisphere, a northern aspect is favoured as it provides the most amount of sun throughout the year.

This can also extend to which side of the street you’re located as well. While one side may catch the sun and the views, the other could be buried in a gully. This will certainly play out in the prices between the two so try asking a few people in the neighbourhood whether there’s a preferred side and why.

So while you may need to sacrifice some aspects of a property in order to meet a budget, location is one factor that shouldn’t be compromised on. Over time you will be able to change almost everything about a property, however location is there to stay, so choose wisely.


By Josh Masters

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