Aussies declare size does matter: The property features we won’t bend on

By Our Reporter
Representational Photo by Kara Eads on Unsplash

In the pursuit of the Australian dream—a spacious home with a sprawling backyard—new research uncovers the property attributes that Australians simply refuse to negotiate on. Compare the Market’s property expert, Andrew Winter, recently discussed the results of a survey that analysed the “non-negotiables” Aussies keep an eye out for when searching for a home. The findings offer both prospective buyers and industry players insights into a market where flexibility is becoming increasingly crucial due to rising costs and limited listings.

A survey of 1,004 Australians by Compare the Market revealed that size indeed plays a significant role. Bedroom numbers came out on top, with 54% of the respondents considering it non-negotiable. Close behind was the type of property, whether it’s a house, apartment or townhouse, at 51%, followed by the overall size of the property at 42%.

Interestingly, factors such as neighbourhood and postcode were almost as crucial, with 41% of Australians unwilling to budge on these aspects. Proximity to public transport and the presence of a backyard were both non-negotiable for 36% of respondents. On the lower end of the spectrum, only 6% considered having a pool a must-have, while a mere 14% prioritised views. Proximity to bars and restaurants also ranked low, which may be a subtle signal that the Australian property market still leans towards more suburban values over urban perks.

Andrew Winter weighed in on the importance of these non-negotiables, particularly in a market as tight as today’s. “Being flexible with your room and size requirements can help improve your options,” he noted. “If you have adult children, downsizing, or ‘rightsizing’ as it should be called, can be seen as an exciting new chapter with benefits like less maintenance and more money to spend or invest.”

Yet, even as he encouraged flexibility, Winter acknowledged the age-old dilemma of property vs location. “If you’re making a choice between ‘dream property’ or ‘dream suburb,’ location is usually more important,” he advised. “You can renovate and improve property, but you can’t change where it is.”

For those brave enough to dip their toes in the current property market, Winter offered a set of tips designed to help people avoid regrettable choices. Among them were not skipping building reports to identify potential structural or safety issues, and obtaining a comprehensive suburb property report. Visiting the area at different times of the day can also offer a more rounded view of what living there might be like.

Winter also touched on financial prudence, recommending finalising loan pre-approval before making any offers. Additionally, he cautioned against getting caught up in the heat of auction bidding wars, reminding buyers that unlike private treaty sales, there’s no cooling-off period at auctions.

The findings from this survey serve as a pulse check on a nation grappling with the trade-offs of property ownership. While Australians may have to adjust their expectations in an increasingly challenging market, the core attributes that define our ideal homes appear to remain steadfast. Whether it’s an extra bedroom, a specific postcode, or a bigger yard, these “non-negotiables” offer a glimpse into what we value most in our quest for property—and what we’re least willing to give up.

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