It’s the Australian Dream (apparently)—a white picket fence, a Hills Hoist in the back yard. But our cities have changed. High density housing is here to stay—not because it’s forced on us, but because there are plenty of people choosing the lifestyle it affords. Here are some of the reasons Australians are opting for apartment-living.
Low maintenance yard with awesome balcony garden
Gone are the days of lifeless, bare balconies. The modern city-dweller has brought life to the concrete jungle. Vertical gardens, balcony rail planters, hanging pots and raised garden beds all allow apartment owners to enjoy the best of a backyard—home grown vegetables, spring bulbs, potted roses—without the hassle of grass that needs mowing and leaves that need raking.
Animal friendly apartments
Most apartments for sale these days allow animals. In Canberra strata must give approval for pets, but permission cannot be unreasonably withheld. While you might struggle with a working dog indoors, there are plenty of apartment friendly breeds, and cats make perfect indoor companions. The mental health benefits of having a pet are huge, so it’s great to see that apartment buildings are finally recognising this. And with the weather the way it is, curling up on the couch with an animal on your lap is the perfect way to spend an evening.
Canberra can be a lonely city, and making new friends as adults is hard. It’s difficult to manage more than an awkward wave from one suburban driveway to another, but conversation can flourish between floors. It doesn’t take long for polite elevator chit chat to evolve into genuine interest. Give it a few weeks, and the weird guy at the end of the corridor becomes Ben, the cool Ukulele player that looks after your cat when you go on holiday.
It may seem pretty incongruous with what you’ve imagined, but apartment living is often less noisy than living in suburbia. Build quality these days mean you’re unlikely to be hearing footsteps from upstairs, or next door’s shower, and given the close quarters, a noisy neighbour faces a wall of concerted protest early on. Compare this to lawn mowers on a Sunday morning, yelling kids on bikes in the street and loud teenage house parties, and you’ll soon see living in the ‘burbs is not necessarily quieter than high density living.
Close to everything
Let’s face it, it’s fun to laugh at your friends when the first thing they say to any social plan is “But what about parking?” Apartment-living in the heart of the town centres means walking to brunch on a Sunday morning, skipping the taxi line on a Friday night and having your choice of things to do 24/7. Oh, and have I mentioned the food? A gazillion different take out options? Even in more regional areas, apartments a purposefully located close to employment, shopping and entertaining.
Ok, so a killer clown is unlikely to accost you anywhere, but surely it’s less likely to happen in an apartment block…all those witnesses you see? But seriously living alone in a suburban house can be terrifying. Was there someone outside your window? Was that just the house creaking or is there someone in your attic? If it is a random psycho killer, will anyone hear your scream? We’ve got no stats on whether or not living in an apartment is safer, but it certainly feels it. And should the worst happen, there are more people to notice you haven’t been seen in awhile and you’re less likely to be eaten by your Alsatian.
Because let’s face it:
- Cheaper to furnish
- Cheaper to maintain
- Cheaper rates
- Cheaper utility bills
- Cheaper transport if your apartment is close to your work.
All this means more money in your pocket to enjoy all the cool things at your doorstep.
Of course there will continue to be strong demand for established houses and blocks of land in the suburbs (a yard is a compelling prospect with three young kids) but as you can see there are some compelling reasons why many are making the lifestyle shift.
So are you converted? If so, check out this article on how much you need to save to get into your first place (spoiler alert: it’s not a lot).