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4 tips for choosing the right suburb for your first home

By Catherine Rayward

Choosing your ideal suburb to live in takes more than just the ‘right feeling’. There are a number of factors that could affect not only your quality of living, but also the value of your home in the future.

If you are considering property for sale, it certainly seems to be a good time to buy. It doesn’t matter what side of the ditch you’re on, as buyers from both New Zealand and Australia are gaining more leverage.

Figures from the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand show that the number of dwellings sold in October fell 4.1 per cent from just one month earlier. Meanwhile, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveals that the value of investor home loans have dropped substantially, with owner occupier loans experiencing moderate growth. Housing Industry Association Economist Geordan Murray noted that this will have a positive effect for people looking to buy their first homes to live in.

“A widening in the interest rate margin between investor loans and owner occupier loans should see growth in the owner occupier market outperform the investor market over the months ahead,” he said.

Are you ready to begin hunting through homes for sale? Here are a few tips for picking the right suburb: Choosing the right place to live can be a hard decision.

1. Local amenities

No matter where you’re living, it’s always good to have local amenities within shouting distance. This includes shops, recreational areas, parks and public transport. A suburb that has the basics at an arm’s reach will make for easier living and better potential for value growth in the long run.

2. School zones

Being in the zone of a good school is beneficial not only if you have children, but it can also help ensure property growth as the area may be sought after by other families. After all, the ABS asserts that there are around 3.7 million kids aged from 5 to 17 currently enrolled at school.

3. Planned developments

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission stresses the importance of being aware of any proposed developments, as these could greatly affect property prices and your quality of living in the area.

The suburb may be slightly lack-lustre now, but if there are plans for new parks, supermarkets or urban hubs, you could be uncovering a gem that will grow in the future.

4. How does it feel?

When it comes down to the ‘living part’, the best way to determine whether the area will suit your requirements is to actually spend some time there.

You should make a day of it and visit the various attractions, attend some community events and talk to the locals to get a sense of the vibe. Don’t rush off to your mortgage broker just yet though, because it’s a good idea to see what the area is like at night time – it could be a significantly different suburb when the sun goes down!

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