The traditional concept of an ideal home for many Australian families seems to have already changed, shaped by the rising costs of living and the gradual winding of the pandemic, according to ING’s latest research.

The highlight of the study points to most families — or around 86% — saying that they are planning to buy for a home in a “20-minute neighbourhood”, where all their daily needs can be met within a 20-minute walk or drive.

Around three in five of those who want to live in a 20-minute neighbourhood said grocery stores is the most desirable amenity to have while around two in five said they want to live within the catchment area of their favourite delivery restaurant.


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LenderHome LoanInterest Rate Comparison Rate* Monthly Repayment Repayment type Rate Type Offset Redraw Ongoing Fees Upfront Fees LVR Lump Sum Repayment Additional Repayments Split Loan Option TagsFeaturesLinkCompare
6.04% p.a.
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Principal & Interest
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5.90% p.a.
Principal & Interest
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Important Information and Comparison Rate Warning

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. Some products will be marked as promoted, featured or sponsored and may appear prominently in the tables regardless of their attributes. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the product provider’s website. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of .

ING Australia head of mortgages Fiona Prater said the results of the survey seem to point out how the ideal home is changing for many families, with the general theme of sacrificing space for an ease of lifestyle.

“Our latest research reveals Aussies families are being savvy about their next move, re-evaluating what the ideal family home is,” she said.

“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.”

Ms Prater said families are also thinking of how they can keep their costs down, which many homebuyers said can be achieved by choosing a smaller home close to public transport or work.

“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,” she said.

Here are other highlights of the study:

  • Roughly a third of families want to be closer to work and public transport to minimise travel costs.
  • A fifth of those surveyed wanted to live close to their friends and families after being separated during the pandemic lockdowns.
  • The preference for low maintenance homes is increasing, with more than a quarter believing a big home would cost too much in the current financial environment.
  • Around 19% of families would opt for a home with less outdoor space.

Tips for families looking for the ideal home

When looking for the ideal family home, Ms Prater said home features and location are two key things families must put on top of their list.

“A low maintenance garden, proximity to work and school, and within a friendly neighbourhood are some of the things you might need to look for,” she said.

“Still, you have to 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.”

One thing buyers can do is to actually spend time in the locations they are eyeing for and talking to local real estate agents.

“You can also talk to café owners and other families living there to really get a feel for the neighbourhood,” Ms Prater said.

Meanwhile, it is also crucial for families to set a realistic and manageable budget for the home purchase.

“Always leave some wriggle room to ensure you can manage changing circumstances,” she said.

In terms of shopping around for a mortgage, Ms Prater said it is crucial to look at features that would help homebuyers make the most out of their finances.

“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,” she said.


Photo by Rido on Canva.