These days we hear a lot about infrastructure, huge amounts of money are being spent and this single topic has a very big impact on every community and every sector of the property market.
When we chat to our potential buyers, while they might not use this exact term, its very clear what most see as their priority, what infrastructure most influences their choice of home and location.
One common thread is the expectation that services (infrastructure) will be of a high-quality, delivered at an international level because people understand the very real impact services will have on their quality of life. There’s a strong awareness that band-aid solutions are not what people expect.
As people go about the search for a new home, there’s also a strong awareness of the pressures that population growth has. In urban areas where we see strong demand, people look for social stability and question the impact of growth on the environment, climate change is an issue.
Cost is another factor, the direct cost to users and beyond to the wider community. They are keen to understand how will services be paid for? If the cost of travel from a new area for work, school or entertainment is high, this impacts affordability.
Across Australia we see growth concentrated in cities and with many areas growing rapidly and where poor planning policies have a very big impact on people’s lifestyle and buyers are very much attuned to such issues. Questions about new roads, rail services, schools and hospitals are common, they are real concern.
The Services That Are Top of Mind
Looking at all areas of infrastructure there are number of key and very important services: urban and local transport, telecommunications, utilities (electricity, gas & water), schools, hospitals and airports. We also have buyers who are very sensitive to how local services are maintained. Run down services are as much a negative to having no services at all.
These key areas have a very big impact on the appeal of individual locations and directly influence the level of demand and prices. Transport remains central, urban transport needs to be immediate, reliable and not to expensive and easy to use, with families that’s a key point.
When considering outer urban areas there’s also a direct link with housing affordability, people look at these areas to possibly come with more affordable price tags but, big delays with access to public transport are a negative, as are long travel times; transport impacts every buyer.
Telecommunications are another big concern; we find buyers demand good telecommunications to meet a very wide range of needs. Ranging from access to the internet for entertainment and work, to the big picture of how Australia fits into the global economy, there’s a high level of literacy in this area which is at times under-estimated.
Many of these areas all feed into concerns over the environment, roads chocked with cars and the poor delivery of every-day utilities like water and electricity worry people, and these concerns also tend to gravitate back to cost. Infrastructure, like housing affordability is one of these topics that all home buyers and the industry remain keenly aware of.