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Apartments used to be thought of as an investment opportunity or for luxurious living, but it appears they, along with units and townhouses, are becoming increasingly popular for the everyday person to own and live in too.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of house dwellers has fallen dramatically in the past 30 or so years, from 86% in 1981 to 76% in 2011, indicating people are moving away from the great Australian dream of having a house on a quarter block.

High density living is increasingly becoming the norm in some areas, and many families as well as couples and singles are enjoying an apartment-living lifestyle. Some see it as an opportunity to live in an area where they can’t afford a house and there are other benefits too such as added security measures.

Ultimately, the choice of whether to live in an apartment or a house boils down to three factors: lifestyle, finances and future plans.

Here are some points to consider when deciding between living in a house or an apartment

Lifestyle

A great attraction for many people living in an apartment is, the property manager takes care of the maintenance and shared garden areas. Many families appreciate the additional time they can spend together instead of tending a garden or maintaining their house. At the same time, kids can still enjoy playing outside in the common area.

Some apartments come with such as secure parking, gyms, communal entertainment/BBQ areas and pools too.

However, depending on the body corporate, apartment living does come with certain rules and regulations. There is often a restriction on pets and you may have to abide by other rules such as not hanging washing out over the balcony.

Furthermore, you’ll often need to get permission if you want to make external additions such as air conditioning units and some apartments have restrictions on type of flooring and other inside modifications too.

Finances

Unless you’re wanting a penthouse suite with ocean views, generally there are apartments available for most budgets, particularly if the location is important; many people find a two, three or even four-bedroomed apartment is more affordable than a house with a similar number of rooms, particularly if it’s in a highly desirable area.

Apartments are generally smaller than a house, so the chances are, you’re more likely to pay less to heat and light the place too; modern apartments now have LED lights and good insulation making them even more economical to run.

The added benefits of pool, gyms and communal BBQ entertainment areas mean costs can be cut in other areas too; no need for costly gym memberships or outside furniture.

As well as usual individual ongoing costs, people living in an apartment do have to budget for additional fees. These fees can be paid monthly, quarterly or annually and cover maintenance, management and associated costs such as building insurance (you’ll need to purchase your own contents insurance).

Apartment owners also usually pay into what’s known as a ‘sinking fund’. This way there is money available should any major external repairs need to be made.

Future Plans

Many people buy an apartment as a means of getting onto the property ladder, and often use it as a stepping-stone to getting a house. Some financially astute owners are able to buy a house to move into and keep the apartment as an investment property.

Meanwhile others see buying an apartment as an ideal opportunity to downsize so they can invest their excess capital elsewhere.

Whether you’re a first time buyer, looking at moving house or looking for an investment property, we’re always happy to chat if you’d like to know more to help you come to an informed decision.