Money Magazine Australia
Apartment Retail Australia Image Credit: Money Magazine Australia
Apartment Retail Australia Image Credit: Money Magazine Australia

On Another Level

High-rise living has growing appeal, but the lifestyle dream can become a nightmare if buyers don’t do their homework

Nicola Field

Apartments are no longer the poor relation of houses. These days, one in 10 of us chooses apartment living, rising to one in five among millennials. And it’s a choice that can have plenty going for it, particularly on the affordability front.

Nationally, there’s a $100,000 gap between the median house value and the median unit value. In Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra this gap widens to more than $180,000.

The price difference is a big deal, especially for first home buyers. A CoreLogic/ANZ report found it can take almost 10 years to save a 20% deposit for a house in our state capitals, compared with around eight years for an apartment.

But it’s not just about getting into a place of your own sooner. “Quite often an apartment means buyers will be able to afford to live closer to work and other lifestyle factors like cafes, bars and restaurants,” says Scott Le Quesne, an Aussie Home Loans broker in Sydney’s Parramatta region.

While affordability is i mportant, research by WA-based Australian Apartment Advocacy found security is the No. 1 motivator for apartment owners nationally. That’s followed by ease of maintenance and a “lock and leave” lifestyle.

Living in an apartment may free you from weekends spent mowing lawns or cleaning gutters, but complexes have common areas, including outdoor spaces, that need to be maintained. The cost is covered by strata levies, which vary widely.

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