Everyone has different home buying/renting priorities so it’s really useful to have suburb data about aircraft noise, safety, schools etc when looking for a house, terrace or apartment. Searching for a new place to live can be very stressful, having useful information on hand will ease these worries and mean you waste less time.
The following websites analyse suburbs and neighbourhoods across Australia for factors like public transport availability, flight paths, distance from schools, broadband internet availability, whether you can do your daily tasks without a car, the number of restaurants & cafes etc so you can decide if the area is suited to you as a single person, couple or family.
NSW SIX Maps
If you live in NSW the government has a free spatial information website that let’s you zoom into the house address you’re interested in at a closer zoom than Google maps does.
This lets you see if there are lots of trees around it casting shade, what the neighbouring buildings are like eg if there’s a double storey casting a big shadow, what scope there is for installing solar panels etc.
Trees are great in general but trees above 3m surrounding your house, whether on your land or the homes 2-3 blocks away all around are not good as they’ll block your natural light and reduce the chance you’ll be able to install solar panels.
Generally speaking to install solar panels a house roof has to be in quite good condition eg you know it will last at least 10 years. Fix any roof issues before you consider solar.
Also it’s best if a roof isn’t tiled with lots of small faces in different directions as this greatly limits how much solar you can install. Simple colorbond roofs with low angle eg 10 degree or large flat faces are best.
In terms of orientation it’s best if the large flat roof faces are towards west/north/east to maximise solar generation during the morning, daytime and afternoon.
The house itself is best oriented roughly north south with the kitchen and living areas at the north end and bedrooms south.
This helps with natural light and ventilation all year as well as passive warmth in winter from low angle sunshine.
Broadband Internet Availability: NBN
The official NBN website has reasonably accurate information about availability at an address.
Fibre (FTTP) is best, FTTN is next best as many of these homes are eligible for an NBN free upgrade to full Fibre, then there’s FTTC (Fibre to the Curb) and last is HFC (Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial) which is the worst because it’s usually 30 year old degraded Foxtel Cable that was bought by NBN and rebadged.
If possible buy a house with fibre already or FTTN/FTTC that is eligible for a free upgrade to fibre.
Aircraft Flight Path Noise
Airservices Australia has an excellent WebTrak site to visualise plane movements to/from airports in major cities across Australia.
WebTrak uses information from air traffic control secondary surveillance radars to monitor aircraft that are within 50 kilometres of the airport or up to 30 000 feet above mean sea level (AMSL). Aircraft noise data is collected daily from noise monitors strategically located around communities close to the airport.
Microburbs scores properties across Australia by various characteristics like convenience, tranquillity, lifestyle, hipness and family. Here’s an example Microburbs guide to Annandale, Sydney
Property seekers can spend hours researching council PDFs, government spreadsheets, crime stats, planning data, school performance info and much more. Microburbs gathers all this information in 1 place for everywhere across Australia and presents it in an easy to use format.
What makes Microburbs different is that allows you to search by specific stats-based criteria and drill down stats to community level, rather than just by suburb like other sites.
Walkscore covers all of Australia and has a simple premise, it tells you how pedestrian friendly a suburb is.
This factor that is very important to younger buyers/renters who choose not to have a car. Walk Score’s mission is to promote walkable neighbourhoods. Walkable neighbourhoods are one of the simplest and best solutions for the environment, our health, and our economy.
As an example the Walkscore guide to Redfern, Sydney says that Redfern is the 20th most walkable neighborhood in Sydney so daily errands do not require a car.
Interesting website features include how many restaurants, bars and coffee shops are located in a suburb as well as what people who live/visit there are tweeting about. There are about 314 restaurants, bars and coffee shops in Redfern so if you moved there there should be plenty of choices for places to eat out or get takeaway from.
If you’re interested this is how Walkscore calculates it’s scores for walkability, public transport availability etc.
The founders of Homely say that it was founded as an alternative to Australia’s other real estate websites, with the aim of creating a sense of community where a collection of real people like you share their opinions, ask questions and help each other.
As an example the Homely guide to Five Dock/Canada Bay, Sydney includes a review from a resident who honestly points out some pros and cons:
“the air traffic is noisy with Five Dock being on the flight path. The locals are friendly. Not that much gentrification that I can see. Some streets have a high turnover of tenants in the apartment blocks. If you can get closer to Canada Bay even better. Lots of young families. Has a library, parks, supermarket etc. Bordered by Parramatta Rd & Lyons Rd & lots of schools makes it difficult to get around during peak hours, but that’s Sydney. If you like a busy suburban/urban feel it’s one of the better choices around that’s a quickish commute to the city.”
Old Listings is really useful because it has historical data about how much homes and apartments sold for/rented for in the past. Knowing how much past owners paid for a place or how fast rents have risen is really valuable information whether you’re in the market to buy or rent.
As an example have a look at the Old Listings guide to buying in Lilyfield, Sydney.
Domain and Realestate.com.au
Domain and Realestate.com.au are the biggest real estate rental and for sale listings sites in Australia. Both have profiles and photos of some popular suburbs but have little data and lack in depth honest information compared to the other sites above.
Examples of their suburb profiles include Domain guide to Surry Hills, Sydney