The one thing more important to unit buyers than location

Noise, not location, is now the most important factor for first home buyers looking at apartments, according to strata leaders.

Loud parties, barking dogs, flushing toilets and excessively vocal “intimate time”, were named as the most complained about issues for strata residents by Queensland body corporate managers, Archers the Strata Professionals.

And now they are pushing the importance of strata noise awareness.

Archers partner Grant Mifsud said noise issues have become top priority for first-time apartment buyers.

“One of the most common issues we deal with is noise complaints, particularly from those living in inner-city hubs,” Mr Mifsud said.

“It’s essential to view the property at different times of day to detect common noises you wouldn’t typically hear upon first inspection.

“We’ve had people purchase an apartment above a railway, and then complain about the noise from the railway. It’s common to dismiss a noise after hearing it once, however when you hear it every day, multiple times, it’s a very different story.”

Now some inner city Brisbane first home buyers are choosing apartments based on noise levels – not location.

Eloise McNee, 24, is on the hunt for a Brisbane apartment, and said location was not a deciding factor.

“I have looked at close to 30 places and location definitely isn’t everything,” Ms McNee said.

“Things like noise and whether I can resell the property in five or 10 years is more important to me.”

She recently put an offer on a Gaythorne apartment after being deterred from other suburbs.

“The place I’ve put an offer on doesn’t have any noise and backs onto a creek,” she said.

Ms McNee said she was turned off another otherwise “lovely” property due to the road noise.

“Everything else was really good about the apartment, but the loud traffic was a deal breaker,” she said.

“I didn’t look at areas like West End because it’s so apartment heavy and it’s almost over-saturated. So, I looked an more established suburbs with less apartments .” Listening out for noise problems

Allen Wargent buyers’ agent Pete Wargent said unexpected noises comes “part and parcel” with high density living.

“Noise is an area that definitely needs key consideration when buying in strata complexes,” Mr Wargent said.

“One way to reduce chances of noise is to purchase a boutique apartment, where you would have less common walls than say in a high rise.”

He said independent research was vital.

“A sales agent isn’t going to highlight the downsides of the property, so doing your own research is important. That could be driving by on weekends to see the area’s nightlife, or if possible renting close by for six months prior to buying,” Mr Wargent said.

“But you can’t always know what neighbours you will get. And if you do end up having problems with noise, communication with the neighbours and awareness of strata rules is essential to getting by.”

Daniel Cohen, co-founder of new homeowner advocates group First Home Buyers Australia, said new property owners are becoming more aware of the areas they buy into.

“In the past buyers may have looked at a good location and assume it was the right area for them, but now they are more forward-thinking, looking at what the area will be like into the future,” Mr Cohen said.

Mr Cohen advises first home buyers to look closely at developing suburbs as a source of increased noise.

“As everyone knows, more construction means more noise, so it’s important to be aware of that if you buy into an early development where there is rezoning for more.

“And then when the development is finished, there will of course be more people, more traffic and generally busier.”

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