Apartments are becoming a lifestyle choice over an entry point into the housing market. In fact, many Australians are forgoing the big backyard in favour of compact living. Why? Well, apartments are more affordable than houses, closer to the city, and typically more luxurious. Plus, they minimise daily chores and maximise leisure time.
According to Census data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) there is now one apartment occupied for every five houses, compared to one in seven in 1991. Over the last 25-years, apartment (including flats and units) occupancy increased by 78% to just over 1.2 million dwellings.
Source: ABS Census of Population and Housing, 1991 – 2016.
- New South Wales – Some 47% of Australian apartments are in NSW. These make up 21% of all occupied dwellings in the state. Zetland, Beaconsfield, Waterloo, and Rosebery overtook the inner city as having the highest number of people living in apartments.
- Western Australia – Some 5% of Australia’s apartments are in WA, making up 6% of the states occupied dwellings. Of this number, 92% of WA apartments are in Perth. The top three regions for apartments are Perth city, Wembley-West Leederville Glendalough, and Subiaco-Shenton Park.
- Victoria – Around 23% of all Australian apartments are in Victoria with inner-city Melbourne apartments housing around 37,916 people. Some 94% of Victorian apartments are in the city with more than 5,000 built over the last two years.
- Queensland – With 17% of Australian apartments being in Queensland, many are in the city. Some 1,606 apartments reached completion in the Brisbane CBD in 2017, with another 1,375 apartments built in Newstead and Fortitude Valley during the same year.
- South Australia – Adelaide accounts for around 11% of apartment stock in Australia. Although significant developments such as the Bowden Urban Village, which will house 3,500 residents in 2,400 dwellings will see this figure rise over the coming years.
Source: The New Daily 14th October 2017.
When buying an apartment there three main factors to consider. These being whether the apartment is:
- Old or new.
- Situated in a high-rise or single-level block.
- In a complex with sound characteristics.
Let’s look at these now.
Old Vs New
While new apartments come with the latest décor and luxuries, they also attract a higher price. Older apartments, however, may not be on-trend, but they offer more for less -amenities and larger size. Of course, the interior may need updating.
- Proximity to amenities – Buying a new apartment close to facilities such as transport and the CBD is difficult on a budget. But, the good news is older apartments situated in these areas are more affordable. Often, these apartments have character and sell for under median value.
- Property size – Many older apartments in smaller groups have a lower price. But, don’t get fooled into thinking you’re buying a lemon just because a property is out-dated compared to what’s new in the area.
- Renovation – No matter whether you buy a new or an old property, you’ll always find aspects you wish to change. However, buying an older property enables you to put your stamp on the apartment. This strategy means you can make changes to suit your tastes. When purchasing new though you’re reluctant to make changes, which means you forgo uniqueness.
High Vs Low
Only a small percentage of Australians live in high-rise apartments of four stories or more. So, is it better to live in a high or low rise?
- High-rise developments – Many high-rise residents say noise, poor layouts, inadequate space, and security are issues. They are also concerned about who they have as neighbours, lack of facilities, power failure, fire-risk, and lift failure.
Environmental psychologists suggest that high-rise buildings influence the moods of residents, their thinking, imagination, spatial cognition, and perceptions. These experts also suggest that children who live in high-rise developments are more prone to tantrums.
However, many people who dwell in a high-rise say that it’s all about lifestyle choice, privilege, and easy-living. High-rise living satisfaction is also high according to studies.
- Low rise developments – Low rise development residents, on the other hand, felt less crowded and were more likely to befriend their neighbours and help them if needed. Many residents were also less stressed and felt comfortable that if they needed to vacate the building they could quickly without having to negotiate flights of stairs or an elevator.
Your apartment needs to be in a convenient location and well kept. Also, the complex needs to have high security, and user-friendly bylaws.
- Location – An apartment that’s close to work, shopping, cafes, and transport is ideal. As a homeowner this type of apartment is a worthwhile investment that will appreciate. So, when it comes time to sell or rent, you will make a favourable
- Look – An apartment’s exterior and interior are important. So, make sure you look at these as well as communal areas such as pools, gyms, gardens, and lifts. Why? Well, some apartment owners keep their property in good condition, but the body corporate does not keep the communal areas in excellent
- Laws – Always review a strata inspection report and seek legal advice. Body corporate bylaws have restrictions, and these may affect your lifestyle. For example, you may not be able to renovate your property or install new flooring. You also need to be aware of pet rules and regulations, whether the building is mixed-use – let for office or retail – and how this can affect you.