By John McGrath

Liveability or lifestyle is an absolute priority for today’s buyers. People are far more discerning about what they want in terms of their location and the type of home they live in. 

It’s largely a subjective thing, but the fun part is deciding what represents liveability best to you. 

Do you love the hustle and bustle of apartment living in the city? Or being close to the beach? Or does a slower pace of life on acreage sound better? It’s entirely your call. 

On a global scale, the Economist Intelligence Unit recently released its annual World’s Most Liveable Cities Index, which surveyed 140 cities based on 30 factors across five key areas – stability, education, infrastructure, health and environment. 

Right at the top – once again, is Melbourne. It took out the No 1 spot for the sixth year in a row. Two other Australian cities are in the Top 10 – Adelaide and Perth. 

Sydney dropped out of the Top 10 this year to No 11 over perceived fears of terrorism threats following the Lindt Café siege. It still received an impressive score of 94.9 out of 100. Brisbane also made the list at No 16. 

Here’s the Top 10. 

World’s Most Liveable Cities Index 

  1. Melbourne, Australia  
  2. Vienna, Austria
  3. Vancouver, Canada 
  4. Toronto, Canada
  5. Calgary, Canada
  6. Adelaide, Australia 
  7. Perth, Australia 
  8. Auckland, New Zealand 
  9. Helsinki, Finland 
  10. Hamburg, Germany 

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit 

The five key areas assessed in the study are pretty much universally valued by all buyers – stability, education, infrastructure, health and environment. The next layer is the street-level factors that make individual suburbs more liveable than others.  

Domain recently ranked 555 suburbs in Sydney based on 16 liveability indicators that included more localised elements such as proximity to employment hubs, traffic, views, cultural amenities like theatres, open space, tree cover, local cafes and restaurants, Wi-Fi coverage and access to the beach. 

Here’s the Top 10. 

Sydney’s Most Liveable Suburbs 

  1. Lavender Bay
  2. Milsons Point
  3. McMahons Point
  4. Kirribilli
  5. Waverton
  6. Wollstonecraft
  7. North Sydney
  8. Millers Point 
  9. Elizabeth Bay 
  10. Darling Point 

Source: Domain 

Another popular measure of liveability today is being walking distance to key amenities. 

As society gets more and more time-poor and congestion on our roads gets worse, buyers are placing a higher value on being able to walk to shops, transport, beaches and recreational facilities such as parks, cinemas and cafes. 

The Walk Score is a great tool for assessing walkability. You can search suburbs and cities all over the world at www.walkscore.com. Here are the Top 10 suburbs in our east coast capital cities. 

Top 10 Most Walkable Suburbs

Sydney 

  1. Haymarket
  2. The Rocks
  3. Sydney
  4. Ultimo
  5. Surry Hills
  6. Chippendale
  7. Millers Point
  8. Darlinghurst
  9. Newtown
  10. Rushcutters Bay

Melbourne

  1. Carlton
  2. Fitzroy
  3. Fitzroy North
  4. Melbourne
  5. St Kilda
  6. South Yarra
  7. East Melbourne
  8. South Melbourne
  9. Collingwood
  10. Windsor

Brisbane 

  1. Brisbane City
  2. Fortitude Valley
  3. Spring Hill
  4. South Brisbane
  5. Petrie Terrace
  6. New Farm
  7. Teneriffe
  8. West End
  9. Milton
  10. Woolloongabba

Source: walkscore.com 

When buying your next property, make sure you consider liveability. It might be a beautiful house, but if walking the kids to school and strolling to the shops are high priorities, make sure the property’s location enables you to do that. 

When buying real estate, you’ll always have to make compromises because no property is perfect. Just remember, you can change a property but you can’t change its location – and it’s location that has the biggest impact on liveability. 

So my advice is to be clear about your own priorities before making such an important decision.