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Family looking at architect plans

The ideal family home in Australia is shifting from a McMansion to smaller, lower maintenance homes near friends, public transport and shops, new research has found.

The research, commissioned by global bank ING, found the majority (86%) of Aussie families looking or thinking of buying were searching for a home in a "20-minute neighbourhood" – where all their daily needs could be met within a 20-minute walk, drive or cycle.

More than a third (38%) of families wanted to be closer to work and public transport (36%) to minimise travel costs. And, a fifth wanted to be closer to friends and family after being separated during COVID lockdowns.

The humble grocery store is the most desirable amenity to have within a 20-minute walk (63%), whilst 18% say they want to live within the catchment area of their favourite delivery restaurant.

The research also reveals smaller, low maintenance homes were on the home buying agenda.

More than a quarter (26%) of families considering buying said they believed a big home would cost too much to maintain in the current financial environment. Almost one in five (19%) say they would opt for a home with less outdoor space.

Head of Mortgages at ING Australia, Fiona Prater, said the research showed buyers were being savvy about their next move and re-evaluating what the ideal family home was.

“The pace of family life has picked up as we’ve emerged from the pandemic and families are undeniably wanting a more efficient and balanced lifestyle," she said,

"They’re willing to sacrifice a big home to be closer to amenities, family, friends and work in order to spend more time doing the things that matter most to them with the people they care for most.

“With the heightened costs of living, families are also thinking about how they can keep their costs down and a smaller home that’s closer to public transport or work and costs less to maintain is a smart way to achieve this.”

Fiona listed her top tips for people looking for their ideal home in today's environment.

  1. Set a realistic and manageable budget for the home purchase – always leave some wriggle room to ensure you can manage changing circumstances.

  2. Shop around for a mortgage that suits you! For example if your goal is to pay it off as quickly as possible find a loan where you’re not going to be penalised for contributing more than the minimum repayments and one that has an offset account.

  3. Consider what features the home and its location need to suit your lifestyle. For example a low maintenance garden, proximity to work and school and within a friendly neighbourhood.

  4. Be prepared to make some compromises. The perfect home doesn’t always exist but you may be able to put your stamp on it over time.

  5. Spend time in the locations you like. Talk to local real estate agents, café owners and other families to really get a feel for the neighbourhood .



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