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Backyards, budget and safety top priorities for Aussie home owners

17 October 2016

  • 51 per cent of home owners say a backyard is an essential feature of a home
  • When choosing a neighbourhood, 66 per cent say safety is paramount
  • Westpac makes it more convenient for home owners to get advice, extending its Connect Now Home Lending service to Saturdays


Australian home owners consider having a backyard (51 per cent) and living in a safe neighbourhood (66 per cent) essential when purchasing a home, according to Westpac’s 2016 Home Ownership report.


The new study commissioned by Westpac investigated the value Australian home owners place on different features of a home and its surrounding area. The research found that staying within budget is rated the most important consideration (80 per cent), up five percentage points since 2015. Aesthetic features such as a modern kitchen or bathroom are now mostly seen as ‘nice to have’, and since 2015 have dropped in importance for home owners by nine percentage points and seven percentage points respectively.


Chris Screen, Westpac Group Head of Home Ownership said when purchasing property, Australians are buying the lifestyle that comes with the home.


“Our research indicates that in an increasingly competitive housing market, budget conscious home buyers are prioritising the enjoyment and lifestyle a particular home could bring. This may be through choosing a home with a backyard that has space to play in, or one in a safe and friendly neighbourhood.”


Mr Screen added, “We’re committed to supporting Australians achieve their home ownership goals; and are proud to have helped nearly one in five Australian first home buyers enter the property market in the last 12 months.”


When it comes to deciding on an area to buy a home in, those surveyed say the most important considerations are safety (66 per cent) followed by quiet (55 per cent) and access to public transport (39 per cent). A secondary level of essentials includes the home’s proximity to the owner’s place of work (26 per cent), educational facilities (25 per cent), parks and/or recreational facilities (25 per cent), and family and friends (21 per cent).


The research also uncovered what people at different stages of life value most when it comes to buying a home. For respondents intending to have a baby in the next two years, a home’s potential as a good investment was listed as the most important feature (66 per cent), after staying within budget (84 per cent). However priorities appeared to change as people approach retirement, with off-street parking (70 per cent) and a home that is ‘move-in’ ready (38 per cent) becoming more essential.


“It’s clear Australians place varied levels of importance on different aspects of a home at different stages of life, which is why when working out your budget it’s important to consider what the next few years may look like,” said Mr Screen.


“I recommend taking the time to research the neighbourhood thoroughly, to make sure it offers what you’re after now and in the future. This might be accessibility to schools, parks or public transport.”


Westpac is now also making it more convenient for customers to get home ownership advice, extending its Connect Now Home Lending service to Saturdays. The extended service means that in addition to weekdays, customers will have access to Westpac home finance managers on Saturdays, via state of the art video conference facilities, at selected branches across Australia[1].


“We recognise many of our customers have more time on the weekends and for them, Saturdays are an ideal time to speak to us about an open house they may have just seen or to discuss their home lending needs,” said Mr Screen.


“We’re excited to extend our Connect Now Home Lending service to Saturdays so that we can help our customers when they need it most,” he said.


The extension of Connect Now to Saturdays at selected branches across Australia, follows a trial of 50 branches which were open on Saturdays in Victoria this year.

For further information, please contact:

Sharon Elliott, Westpac                                                                                           


M: 0466 410 689

About the Westpac 2016 Home Ownership Report

The research was commissioned by Westpac and conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard. Lonergan Research surveyed 1,119 Home Owners and Intending First Home Buyers. Surveys were distributed throughout Australia including both capital city and non-capital city areas. The survey was conducted online amongst members of a permission-based panel, between 2nd September and 9th September 2016. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Westpac Consumer Connect Now

Connect Now Home Lenders are accessible via state of the art video conferencing facilities at all Westpac branches. You can find your nearest branch and their contact details via the Westpac website or via the Westpac Mobile Banking App. Connect Now has won Best Service Innovation Award at the Customer Experience in Financial Services (CXFS) Asia Awards 2016, and The Australian Business Awards for Service Excellence Award 2016.





[1] Connect Now will be available at 85 branches Australia-wide on Saturdays.