Much about the way young families live has changed over the past 30 years but there is one thing that remains constant: the desire to live somewhere ideal to raise children.
What exactly constitutes that ideal is often a matter of opinion but now, drawing together a wealth of exclusive data, the new Domain Liveable Brisbane study brings some science to the discussion by ranking Brisbane suburbs based on how liveable they are for young families.
The research revealed Alderley to be Brisbane’s most liveable neighbourhood for young families, followed closely by Chermside West, Wilston, Kalinga, Carina Heights and Corinda.
Other suburbs that were awarded top marks for young families included Grange, Ascot, Bardon, Sandgate, Camp Hill, Lota and Ferny Grove.
The study, authored by Deloitte Access Economics and Tract Consultants, scored every Brisbane suburb using 18 indicators including access to cafes, schools, transport and employment, as well as airport noise, traffic congestion, the suburb’s crime rate, its walkability, open space and proximity to the coast or beach.
These results were then weighted to reflect the different priorities for individuals at different life stages – young families were assumed to prioritise access to retail, schools, parks, and have a strong preference for a low-crime suburbs.
It could be argued that Brisbane is a liveable city for young families in general. With its low density suburbs, large backyards and a sunny climate that favours a life outdoors, there aren’t not too many neighbourhoods that wouldn’t cater for families of all different shapes and sizes.
But according to Natalie Rayment, planning director at Wolter Consulting Group, there is more to liveability for young families than just access to schools and local parks.
While these things were significant, she said, it was the less tangible factors like a “community heart” that were most important.
“These suburbs with an active community – where their residents have a sense of belonging and togetherness – that really draws people to them,” she said.
“It’s important at any stage of life but particularly with young families with small children, it can make all the difference and more often people will accept a lower quality of local liveability factors to achieve this feeling.
“Access to schools is certainly something young families look for as well and within a suburb, it’s important it has walkability – the ability to get around your suburb easily – and those community spaces like parks.”
Brisbane couple Adrienne and James Brindle were yet to start their family when they began searching for a first home together but a family-friendly suburb was a top priority nonetheless.
“We wanted an area that was close to schools, parks and playgrounds,” Ms Brindle said. “I also wanted things within walking distance, so childcare, schools, the library, the shops – that was all important to me for when we started a family – and Carina Heights had all of that.”
The pair settled on an original three-bedroom post-war house in a quiet, tree-lined street in 2015 and since then have renovated and extended the property, creating a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home complete with a large deck on the back.
They have also had a baby: William, aged one.
Carina Heights was found to be one of the most liveable suburbs for young families, scoring highly for open space, tree cover, access to schools and crime rate.
Now that they’re a family of three, Carina Heights is everything the Brindles hoped it would be.
“We walk to daycare, we walk to the shops, we walk to the library,” Ms Brindle said. “We’re close with our nextdoor neighbours and there’s a few other families in the street. Some of them go to the same daycare as us.
“When we were renovating, people would pop in and ask if we needed anything and comment on how lovely the house looked. It’s a really lovely community.”
Patrick Ivey of Harcourts Coorparoo grew up in Carina Heights and recently bought his first property there.
He said his street was “literally” filled with young families.
“Carina Heights is the little brother suburb to Carindale and Camp Hill. If you’re a young family, affordability-wise you can’t beat it – you’re saving almost $100,000 on an entry-level property,” he said.
“On top of that, you’re getting an extra 200 square metres on the same block of land you’d get at Camp Hill and you’re closer to Westfield Carindale and all the public transport.”
The top-rated suburb for young families, Alderley, scored highly for tree cover, open space, access to trains and crime.
Chermside West, about 10 kilometres north of the CBD, scored top marks across the same indicators, as well as excellent results for access to both primary and secondary education.
Dwight Colbert of Ray White Aspley said Chermside West was undergoing a seismic shift in demographic, with the older generation of home owners who had lived there their entire lives moving out and making way for a new generation of young families.
“It began as a suburb for young families. More recently it’s been predominantly an older demographic living there but now what we’re finding is that they’re moving on and the younger families are moving in there,” he said.
“It’s still as appealing as it’s always been for young families because it has great access to public transport, it’s close to Westfield Chermside, there’s quite a few parklands and it’s got a whole bunch of great schools.”
In Brisbane’s south-west, the leafy riverside suburb of Corinda scored very highly for access to trains, schools and top marks for tree cover and open space.
Kalinga in the inner north was given a perfect score for crime rate and an excellent score for tree cover, while nearby Wilston, rated as Brisbane’s second-most liveable suburb in all of Brisbane, scored top marks for cafes, access to trains, walkability and excellent marks for open space, tree cover, access to employment and rate of crime.
Sam Pourmoradian, principal town planner at Tract Consultants, said liveability was ultimately subjective and that in splitting the results into sub-groups, it gave a better understanding of what the different demographics and how their preferences could influence the results.
“Young families tend to place greater emphasis on schools, parks and local retail when choosing a place to live. Families may also prioritise low-crime rates or perceptions of safety,” he said.
“Alderley retains top position and there is a rise of more suburban neighbourhoods entering the top 10 including Chermside West, Corinda and Carina Heights.
“Interestingly, while the overall results trend toward the northern suburbs the young family ranking shows a mix of suburbs from Brisbane’s north, south and west which all offer a comparable level of liveability for young families.”
Experts identify best cities to buy property
Property hunters after the best value should eye up properties in Brisbane and Melbourne, according to a recent survey.
Finder spoke to experts and economists and asked them which city they would buy a property in if they were to invest today.
Nearly a quarter of them picked Brisbane and Melbourne, while 13 per cent would search for property in Canberra or Sydney.
Nine per cent saw potential in Hobart. But Perth and Adelaide did not rate high, with only 4 per cent of experts enticed to invest there.
“While Melbourne and Brisbane are strong candidates for the most promising property market in Australia, it is a bit stunning to see Sydney perform relatively poorly,” Finder insights manager Graham Cooke said.
The results illustrate that it is essential to consider property in other parts of the country, he said.
“The state you live [in] doesn’t need to be the state where you buy. With many Sydneysiders grappling with housing affordability, rentvesting could be the way to go.”
Although the majority of experts and economists were able to put their finger on a city they would invest, 13 per cent did not think it was the right time to buy a property.
Queensland Confirms 2032 Olympic Games Bid
Queensland will join the race to host the 2032 Olympic Games after premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed that cabinet had given the green light for the bid on Monday.
State cabinet officially endorsed the bid after a feasibility assessment detailed significant investment and economic benefits for the state.
A south-east Queensland Olympic Games could create 130,000 jobs and deliver more than $8 billion in new trade opportunities, the analysis found.
“This is about so much more than a few weeks of sport,” Palaszczuk said.
“Hosting the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics could be a game-changer and deliver 20 years of accelerated opportunity for our state.”
More than 80 per cent of venues that would support an Olympic Games are already built, while recent IOC reforms ensure host cities receive significant financial support from the committee.
Preliminary analysis undertaken in May estimated net operating costs of $5.3 billion to host the 2032 Olympic Games.
Lord mayor Adrian Schrinner said that IOC’s financial contributions may be enough to offset the cost of the games entirely.
“The operating costs of the games can be done in a cost-neutral manner,” Schrinner said.
Schrinner, along with the council of Queensland mayors, has been vocal in his support of 2032 Olympics campaign—penning an open letter to the premier in an attempt to fast-track the bid.
The premier said the bid process will be staged, with the first phase about securing financial support across all levels of government.
On Monday, the premier said that the government has “not discounted” the use of the Gabba for the opening ceremony, and flagged upgrades to the ageing QEII Stadium and Albion Park raceway for major events.
The International Olympic Committee is not expected to announce the winner until 2022, giving the state government two years to finalise its bid.
Both the opposition leader Anthony Albanese and prime minister Scott Morrison have already thrown their support behind the bid.
“We will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure we receive the financial support we require from all levels of government,” Palaszczuk said on Monday.
Queensland’s initial bid will be assessed by the IOC executive committee, before being signed off by more than one hundred Olympic delegates.
China, Germany, Indonesia and the “combined Koreas” are among rumoured early-stage bidders.
Window to slam shut for first-time buyers as property prices surge
First-time buyers could well be locked out of the market again if property prices continue to surge – and the government’s scheme to help new buyers with small deposits is unlikely to make much of a difference, experts say.
Property investors often compete in the same parts of the market as first-home buyers, particularly modestly priced apartments.
The prospects of surging prices, future capital gains and even lower mortgage rates next year are likely to see investors flood back into the market.
While the increase in investor finance for mortgages so far has not been overly strong, this is highly likely to change in 2020, according to Doron Peleg, founder of property researcher RiskWise.
With official interest rates likely to be even lower from as early as February, he expects Sydney and Melbourne property prices to snap back to record highs by the end of 2020.
“First-home buyers are likely to be significantly impacted due to projected increased competition [from investors] and way less affordable houses,” Mr Peleg said.
I think [first-home buyers] will be crowded out of the market in 2020 – as has happened in previous upward price cycles
Louis Christopher, managing director of property researcher SQM Research, said first-home buyers have been entering the market in greater numbers over the past two years, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne.
“But following the latest price surges in both cities, I think [first-home buyers] will be crowded out of the market in 2020 – as has happened in previous upward price cycles,” he said.
Property prices in Sydney dropped about 15 per cent after peaking in mid-2017 and dipped a little more than 10 per cent from peak to trough in Melbourne, before recovering strongly from the middle of this year.
Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that during 2014, 2015 and 2016 – when prices were booming – the number of loans to owner-occupier, first-home buyers was between 7000 and 8000 a month.
However, since prices started falling in 2017, commitments by first-home owners have surged to between 9000 and 10,000 a month.
Since the beginning of June, the Reserve Bank of Australia has cut the cash rate three times to a new record low of 0.75 per cent.
Over the three months to November 30, Sydney dwelling prices lifted by 6.2 per cent and by 6.4 per cent in Melbourne, CoreLogic figures show. Dwelling values in Sydney rocketed 2.71 per cent and across Melbourne by 2.25 per cent in November alone.
For many first-time buyers, even when prices were falling, a significant obstacle was coming up with a sizeable deposit. And buyers with less than a 20 per cent deposit of the purchase price are usually required by lenders to have mortgage insurance.
Though paid for by borrowers, the insurance covers lenders for any shortfall that may occur through the sale of a re-possessed house.
The one-off premium can to run to several thousands of dollars – even on modestly priced properties – although it is usually added to the home loan at the time of purchase.
The Morrison government’s First Home loan Deposit Scheme will start on January 1.
The scheme guarantees mortgages for up to 10,000 first-home buyers each year who have saved deposits as low a 5 per cent, helping them buy sooner and avoid having to pay mortgage insurance.
The government’s scheme limits the purchase price of Sydney properties to $700,000, which to be honest, is a joke
Graham Cooke, insights manager at comparison site Finder, said that aside from the small number of borrowers who may be able to get help in buying their first home, the property value caps for the scheme are also “problematic”, especially in Sydney.
“The government’s scheme limits the purchase price of Sydney properties to $700,000, which to be honest, is a joke,” he said. That is also the cap for regional centres in NSW, defined as cities with populations of more than 250,000. The cap for the rest of NSW is $450,000.
“Not many properties [in Sydney] will qualify for this scheme – some apartment buyers may qualify, but not many houses are available for below that price,” Mr Cooke said.
The cap for houses is $600,000 for Melbourne and regional Victorian centres and $375,000 for the rest of Victoria.
Successful applicants must have taxable incomes of $125,000 or less a year for singles and $200,000 or less for couples.
The scheme is administered through the National Housing Finance and Investment Corp. in partnership with major lenders. Last week, the scheme signed its first lender, NAB.
The government has said the scheme is designed to help first-home buyers purchase a modest home and is just one way it supports them.
In 2017, the Morrison government introduced the First Home Super Saver Scheme, which helps first-home buyers save a deposit inside their superannuation fund by making voluntary contributions.
The government will be monitoring the new scheme, including how the supply for loans is meeting demand, and it can be modified, if required.
Robert Mellor, executive chairman of economic and property forecaster BIS Oxford Economics, said first timers can take some heart that prices of cheaper dwellings, particularly apartments, are not rising as quickly as the middle and upper ends of the market.
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