Does “bargain” = happiness?

house-car-vintage-old-largeSo you’ve been searching for the perfect home for months. With every unsuccessful inspection, your heart sinks just a little bit more, and so do your standards. Lofty dreams of walk-in robes, kitchen islands and summer parties on a sweeping entertaining deck are quickly being replaced by the sobering realisation that ‘home, sweet home’ might just end up being fifth floor apartment with no balcony and dubious plumbing.

That inner-city lifestyle of Tuesday night yoga, weekend brunches and spontaneous picnics in the park? Forget it. The way things are going, you’ll likely be a 40-minute commute from, well, anywhere, and even then you’ll need to make sure you make the last bus home. At 9pm.

Then suddenly you stumble across what appears to be the answer to all your woes: a property report claiming that two and three bedroom bargains can still be found within 10km of the city. The garden parties, the swimming pool, the kid’s playroom/writer’s retreat/man cave are now back on the table.

“Hallelujah,” you shout, “take my money.”

Stop.

It’s no secret that right now it’s a tough market for buyers looking for a place to call home. With investors feeding off low interest rates, young people and families are being forced to the outer suburbs, where the joy of bigger bang-for-buck is often negated by longer commute times and limited resources.

The report, released by realestate.com.au, does indeed offer hope to anyone feeling deflated by the current state of the property market, however, price is obviously just one element of the equation. There’s other important things to consider, such as proximity to restaurants, gyms, bars, hospitals, schools and playgrounds, as well as neighbour demographics and an upcoming construction (possibly next door). After all, what’s the point trying to save a few dollars in the short term, if your lifestyle and tranquility suffers in the long-term?

Microburbs has taken the report one step further, by analysing the convenience, lifestyle, tranquility, family and community Scores for each of the bargain suburbs.

The convenience Score is determined by how long it takes to travel to the regular essentials of life, such as supermarkets and city/work hubs.

The lifestyle score incorporates proximity to cafes, bars and restaurants, with better scores for better-rated venues. It also awards extra marks if the suburb is near to beaches, pools and other waterways.

Looking at population density, tenancy rates and the percentage of residents ages 15-24, the tranquility score reveals how much space and peace and quiet you’ll enjoy in the suburb.

The family score takes into account the facilities available for kids, including the number and quality of schools, and the number of other kids in the area.

While the community score looks are the strength of civic life in the area, including services, places of worship and how active the community is in volunteering.

You can see how each of the bargain areas scored below, but overall, in Tasmania, which had the nation’s cheapest housing options, the northern suburb of Glenorchy achieved the best results in each category, making it your best choice for the complete package of bargain-plus-lifestyle. Second highest was Warrane. Accordingly, these were the two most expensive ‘bargain’ suburbs in Tasmania.

In South Australia, the best scores went to Woodville North followed by Morphetville, with both also being two most expensive of the state’s listed bargain neighbourhoods.

This same trend followed in Queensland, where Keperra, closely followed by Chermside, have the highest scores, with price tags to match. Also worth keeping in mind is that more than half of Chermside’s residents are renting.

Going against the trend is Western Australia, where the cheapest suburb within 10km of the city, Tuart Hill, and the third cheapest, Dianella, produce the best scores, making them both great options for home buyers seeking good lifestyles at a good price.

In Victoria, best rated was Footscray, followed by West Footscray, which also offers the best median prices for two-bedroom homes close to the city.

Alawa and Millner were joint top scorers in the Northern Territory, with both possessing mid-range bargains for those hunting seeking a good balance of lifestyle and price in the Top End.

New South Wales unsurprisingly had the most expensive ‘bargains’ in Australia. Petersham received the best scores of all featured areas across the country, though it also had the most expensive median house price to match and almost six times the amount of residents per km2 than the Sydney average. In second place was Mascot, which, as Sydney’s second-best bargain suburb, also makes it the city’s ideal area to buy.

See below for the category scores of each supposed bargain suburb. You can also discover how generous your suburb is, as well as find out how your location might affect your chances for love all on Microburbs.

Tasmania

Clarendon Vale: median three-bedroom house price $150,000
Convenience Score: 5/10
Lifestyle Score: 4/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 14% residents aged 15-24, 62% renters, 1,294 people per km2

Risdon Vale: median three-bedroom house price $170,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 5/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 15% residents aged 15-24, 30% renters, 1,491 people per km2

Rokeby: median three-bedroom house price $187,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 4/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 13% residents aged 15-24, 28% renters, 232 people per km2

Glenorchy: median three-bedroom house price $138,500
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 6/10
Tranquility: 13% residents aged 15-24, 38% renters, 1,007 people per km2

Warrane: median three-bedroom house price $235,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 13% residents aged 15-24, 47% renters, 526 people per km2

South Australia

Kilburn: median three-bedroom house price $369,500
Convenience Score: 4/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 14% residents aged 15-24, 55% renters, 1,757 people per km2

Woodville Gardens: median three-bedroom house price $295,000
Convenience Score: 4/10
Lifestyle Score: 4/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 15% residents aged 15-24, 56% renters, 2,771 people per km2

Mansfield Park: median three-bedroom house price $330,000
Convenience Score: 4/10
Lifestyle Score: 4/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 15% residents aged 15-24, 33% renters, 2,881 people per km2

Morphetville: median three-bedroom house price $465,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 7/10
Tranquility: 12% residents aged 15-24, 44% renters, 1,494 people per km2

Woodville North: median three-bedroom house price $355,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 8/10
Tranquility: 14% residents aged 15-24, 36% renters, 1,639 people per km2

Queensland

Rocklea: median three-bedroom house price $372,500
Convenience Score: 4/10
Lifestyle Score: 4/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 15% residents aged 15-24, 39% renters, 95 people per km2

Salisbury: median three-bedroom house price $506,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 15% residents aged 15-24, 29% renters, 1,423 people per km2

Northgate: median three-bedroom house price $652,050
Convenience Score: 4/10
Lifestyle Score: 5/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 14% residents aged 15-24, 42% renters, 1,446 people per km2

Keperra: median three-bedroom house price $455,100
Convenience Score: 7/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 6/10
Community Score: 7/10
Tranquility: 11% residents aged 15-24, 31% renters, 1,244 people per km2

Chermside: median three-bedroom house price $531,500
Convenience Score: 7/10
Lifestyle Score: 8/10
Family Score: 6/10
Community Score: 5/10
Tranquility: 16% residents aged 15-24, 58% renters, 2,402 people per km2

Western Australia

Tuart Hill: median three-bedroom house price $579,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 5/10
Tranquility: 11% residents aged 15-24, 43% renters, 3,073 people per km2

Morley: median three-bedroom house price $550,000
Convenience Score: 4/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 13% residents aged 15-24, 26% renters, 1,923 people per km2

Dianellamedian three-bedroom house price $630,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 5/10
Family Score: 6/10
Community Score: 7/10
Tranquility: 13% residents aged 15-24, 24% renters, 2,103 people per km2

Westminster: median three-bedroom house price $443,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 14% residents aged 15-24, 43% renters, 2,245 people per km2

Belmont: median three-bedroom house price $487,500
Convenience Score: 4/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 14% residents aged 15-24, 42% renters, 1,432 people per km2

Victoria

West Footscray: median two-bedroom house price $545,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 8/10
Family Score: 6/10
Community Score: 8/10
Tranquility: 12% residents aged 15-24, 38% renters, 2,670 people per km2

Maidstone: median two-bedroom house price $530,000
Convenience Score: 5/10
Lifestyle Score: 8/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 18% residents aged 15-24, 41% renters, 2,454 people per km2

Footscray: median two-bedroom house price $578,500
Convenience Score: 8/10
Lifestyle Score: 9/10
Family Score: 6/10
Community Score: 7/10
Tranquility: 16% residents aged 15-24, 54% renters, 2,658 people per km2

West Melbourne: median two-bedroom house price $608,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 4/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 20% residents aged 15-24, 59% renters, 568 people per km2

Northern Territory

Moil: median three-bedroom house price $543,750
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 6/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 8/10
Tranquility: 12% residents aged 15-24, 35% renters, 1,944 people per km2

Alawa: median three-bedroom house price $542,500
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 8/10
Tranquility: 12% residents aged 15-24, 32% renters, 1,712 people per km2

Anula: median three-bedroom house price $550,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 5/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 8/10
Tranquility: 13% residents aged 15-24, 26% renters, 1,825 people per km2

Millner: median three-bedroom house price $552,000
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 8/10
Tranquility: 13% residents aged 15-24, 41% renters, 1,680 people per km2

Jingili: median three-bedroom house price $567,500
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 13% residents aged 15-24, 27% renters, 1,380 people per km2

New South Wales

Tempe: median two-bedroom house price $850,000
Convenience Score: 7/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 5/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 10% residents aged 15-24, 23% renters, 1,779 people per km2

Mascot: median two-bedroom house price $916,500
Convenience Score: 8/10
Lifestyle Score: 8/10
Family Score: 6/10
Community Score: 8/10
Tranquility: 13% residents aged 15-24, 33% renters, 851 people per km2

St Peters: median two-bedroom house price $890,000
Convenience Score: 7/10
Lifestyle Score: 7/10
Family Score: 7/10
Community Score: 4/10
Tranquility: 11% residents aged 15-24, 38% renters, 1,660 people per km2

Earlwood: median two-bedroom house price $912,500
Convenience Score: 6/10
Lifestyle Score: 8/10
Family Score: 8/10
Community Score: 7/10
Tranquility: 11% residents aged 15-24, 18% renters, 2,997 people per km2

Petersham: median two-bedroom house price $957,500
Convenience Score: 8/10
Lifestyle Score: 9/10
Family Score: 8/10
Community Score: 7/10
Tranquility: 11% residents aged 15-24, 48% renters, 5,801 people per km2

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Former editor of the real estate section of the Daily Telegraph.

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