4 October 2011 – While young families look for house size and type, older and single-person households are more likely to think the characteristics of where they live are more important, a survey by The Grattan Institute on housing preferences shows.

Having a garden, being close to work or even being near schools were not in the top 15 “must-haves” of most people, compared to the higher priorities of being near to family and nearby amenities.

As the population ages and household size decreases, there will be marked shifts in the mix of housing that people want  says the report “What matters most ? housing preferences across Australia “ by Ben Weidmann and Jane-Frances Kelly. The survey of 700 Melbourne and Sydney residents is an extension to Grattan’s report The Housing We’d Choose

Demography only one factor

The results suggest that demographic change will drive an increased demand for housing in locations characterised by convenience, access and safety –

particularly important to older and lone-person households.

But the extent to which changing preferences will result in changes to the housing stock remains unclear.

The design of the housing market – and the incentives faced by industry – will play a central role, the report says.

See full report