16 October 2019

The attraction of apartment living

Adrian Atelj
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Are you thinking about buying or renting an apartment? Choosing a smaller space to call home comes with a range of benefits, the most important being better affordability.

Affordability

Apartments are cheaper to buy and rent by quite a large margin in the capital cities.

Not only do you pay less when buying, you can also save a lot of stamp duty and/or qualify for a First Home Owner’s Grant if you’re buying under certain price thresholds in certain states.

In the major capital cities, it is very hard to buy a house under the price thresholds for a stamp duty exemption or discount.

For example, in NSW, your buying price has to be less than $650,000 for the full exemption. The median house price in Sydney is $900,000 and the median apartment price is $710,000 (Sept 2019). For any chance of a full exemption, you really need to be buying an apartment.

“In early Spring 2019, there were about 29,000 homes for sale in Sydney and only about 1,000 of them were houses priced at $650,000 or less in the most affordable area of the city, which is Western Sydney,” said homes.com.au Founder & Managing Director, Pat Carbone.

In VIC, the threshold is $600,000 or less for a full stamp duty exemption. In the ACT, stamp duty exemptions rest on income thresholds, not the buying price.

Cheaper bills

Apartments have a much smaller floor plan than houses, which can mean cheaper electricity, gas and water bills.

Security: Lock up and leave

Apartments can provide more security than houses in a number of ways.

Firstly, if you are a few levels off the ground, there is less chance of intruders coming through the windows.

Secondly, many apartment buildings offer security facilities, such as a locked main entrance and intercom system, which allows residents to decide who can come into the building.

Thirdly, with lots of residents constantly going in and out of the building, there is the security of the crowd.

‘Lock up and leave’ is one of the most appreciated features of apartment living today, especially amongst travelling downsizers and busy executives. It’s easy to lock up your apartment and leave it for an extended period.

Community

When living in a house, you’re likely to greet your neighbours with a simple nod from afar. However, when sharing an apartment building, you’re likely to run into them a lot more often.

These frequent brief encounters create a greater feeling of community and neighbourliness. Who knows? They might even lead to exciting new friendships.

Amenities

“Buying or renting an apartment can mean buying or renting a great lifestyle, too,” said homes.com.au Founder & Managing Director, Pat Carbone.

“Large apartment complexes can offer various amenities that you simply can’t get with a house.

“These include communal pools, gyms, cinema rooms, meeting rooms and rooftop entertaining areas that are all available to you without the need to leave home.”

Location

Apartment buildings are mostly located around major shopping hubs with public transport options, cafés, restaurants, child care and other amenities. So, apartment owners and tenants can get multiple things done close to home.

The land around these hubs, particularly in capital cities, has typically been rezoned long ago to accommodate a rising population through medium to high density accommodation. It’s therefore very rare to find freestanding houses for buying or renting as close to these hubs as apartments. If they’re available, they’re usually very old homes.

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