Q & A
Q. I have seen a great apartment advertised, but I am not sure whether would be better off with a stand alone home. What are your views?
Apartment living is becoming a more popular choice for Western Australians, and what will suit one individual may not suit another. There is a greater variety of product coming onto the market – it is exciting that WA residents now have much more choice than in the past.
Apartment living has many advantages, but it is not for everyone. If you are thinking about this style of living, there are a few things to think about as the pros and cons of apartment living compared to traditional detached housing.
Many apartments are located in Perth’s inner suburbs with great access to shopping, restaurants, entertainment and cultural facilities. Apartment living can provide modern and affordable housing options to people who desire a near city location. They can be found near public transport which can save you costs too.
Apartment living generally offers lower repairs and maintenance bills and lower gas and electricity tariffs and water rates. And there is less cleaning and no gardening to worry about.
Many modern apartments include solar energy, smart wiring, health clubs and swimming pools, making leisure activities very convenient.
Medium density living can offer the security and comfort of close proximity to other residents, as well as secured off street car parking.
Despite these benefits apartment living is not for everyone. Generally apartments are smaller than detached houses, with less storage space and limited car parking (including visitor bays).
Noise pollution is an important issue in apartment style living. Living in close proximity to noisy neighbours or roads can be infuriating. New building laws governing noise minimisation should have reduced this problem but they can add to building costs.
Buyers of new apartments have a choice of buying “off the plan” (before construction commences) or in an existing complex. Buying off the plan can present the opportunity for substantial capital gain during construction even before you move in, if markets are moving up.
You should also check whether the apartment is covered by home indemnity insurance (covering structural defects after completion) and what strata fees are payable.
From an investment point of view, you will need to look at supply and demand in the area that you want to buy in, which will determine the financial success of your investment. Also be mindful that interest rates are relatively low at the moment and can increase significantly at times – make sure you can accommodate changed circumstances.