It’s the ‘Great Australian Dream’ – living in a big house in the suburbs on a quarter-acre block. Weekends would consist of mowing the lawn, going for a dip in the pool (if you were lucky enough to have one) and throwing an afternoon barbecue with friends.
Those living in apartments did so due to circumstance, not choice; you lived in a unit until you could afford a house! Or at least, that is how it used to be.
Today, apartment living is a lifestyle choice made by many Australians and it’s clear to see why.
- Location, location, location.
The urbanisation of our cities means that newly constructed homes are few and far to come by, particularly if you’re looking for one in close proximity to the CBD. The compromise here is then purchasing a much older, often run-down home requiring extensive repairs and restoration. For some buyers, living in an apartment means they can live in premium suburbs where a house is often unaffordable.
A major drawcard of apartment living is the proximity to not only city-centre’s, but also transport and amenity. Being close to the action means that everything is at your doorstep, from bars and restaurants to theatres, cultural precincts, sporting facilities and parks.
Nipping down to the convenience store when you run out of bread or the takeaway shop for a quick midnight snack is notably different when there’s retail situated on the ground floor of your complex. This gives way to an entirely different atmosphere to a house in the suburbs, and one which many people have happily sacrificed the quarter-acre block to be a part of.
2. Luxury living, at a fraction of the cost
Few home owners can afford the enviable resort-style inclusions that are typically found in apartments. Amenities such as rooftop pools, private theatre’s, fitness centres, private dining rooms, wine cellars, communal herb gardens, sauna’s and outdoor barbecue areas are becoming common ground in apartment buildings. These facilities would rarely be seen in million-dollar properties, not to mention the cost of maintaining such amenity.
Further, apartment dwellers are increasingly using public spaces as extensions of their homes. The local café offering free wifi is now a home office and the local parkland is the dogs running ground.
3. Low maintenance
For anyone who has ever had a large backyard, some hedges or even a few bamboo trees, can appreciate this one unsurprising fact – gardens are a whole lot of damn-hard work! Imagine this: Sun is beating down on a glorious summer’s day, you’re knee deep in shrubs, covered in spider bites, wondering if you will still be alive in time to clean the pool before guests arrive… The Great Australian Dream suddenly doesn’t sound so appealing, huh?
Behold, apartment living to the rescue. As apartments are strata or community titled, body corporate fees known as levies will cover maintenance required for the buildings common areas, including lawn mowing, gardening and pool cleaning.
Apartment complexes are also built to the very latest and strictest safety and construction requirements, so issues are very unlikely. If they however are to happen, body corporate fees are designed to cover this equally across all residents. By contrast, buying a house means all maintenance and repair costs lie firmly with the owner.
Capital expenses such as big or one-off items such as property fences, carpets or lift replacement are covered by the Sinking Fund. Money into the sinking fund is collected through levies, interest received from funds’ investments and money from insurance pay outs. Unless you are super keen on sausage sizzles, there is no need to spend your spare time at Bunnings. It is this reason in particular why having a proactive body corporate manager is of profound importance.
4. Security & Safety
Intercoms, swipe cards, access codes, secure gates, CCTV, alarms – if these sound like music to your ears than apartment living may be for you! Most apartments now not only require a key to access your own apartment, but also varying levels of security to access the building itself, lobbies, its common areas, the car park and even lifts! This, coupled with CCTV monitoring and alarm systems, ensures the security of you, your family/pets and your belongings.
If this doesn’t calm your nerves, then knowing thy neighbour should certainly help. The decline of suburban communities gives way to a new type of neighbour. Sharing a building with others enhances the possibility of getting to know those living around you, particularly if your onsite building manager organises regular events and opportunities for resident gatherings.
Initiatives such as movie nights, reading clubs and drinks on the rooftop provide a great excuse to meet new friends and familiarise yourself with those who you share the apartment complex with – the benefit of having a great onsite building manager!
All these factors are imperative to consider when deciding on a home, however it is vital to note that apartment living is no longer the great compromise it once was perceived to be, but an active lifestyle choice that many now opt for.
The ‘Great Australian Dream’ is not dead, it’s just new and improved, and you can find it in apartment living.
Author: Sandra Kulacanin, Aria Property Group.