“You buy what you want to live in. With buying a property to live in, do not be scared of apartment living. The reality is that there is many similarities in capital growth [between buying a house and buying an apartment] and if you buy right you could arguably make more of a profit on apartments. So there is no need to be concerned, you buy what you’re happiest to live in yourself.”
Andrew Winter, ‘Selling Houses Australia‘ host & real estate expert.
AUSTRALIANS have been sold a tale of rising standards of living. Our national economy has been growing strongly for nearly three decades and in most domains things are getting better fast.
Our cars are safer and more fuel efficient. Our TVs much bigger and the number of channels they show are many times larger than in our childhoods. Medical care is better. The list goes on and on.
But there is one place where the opposite is true. Housing. For most of us the walls are closing in, or the city is disappearing over the horizon. This can be hard to accept. You absorb things as a child — what a house should be like, how kids should be raised. Then you get to a certain age, compare your bank balance to the cost of property and you have to rethink all those things.
Not only are we more likely to be renting than the previous generation, and more likely to be paying off a mortgage than paid off, many Aussies raised in detached homes now live in apartments.
The next graph shows how apartments are coming to represent a bigger and bigger share of our housing stock. If detached homes were still as common as they were in 1991, there would be 300,000 more people living in detached homes these days.
OK, there are more Australians now. But our ratios of detached homes to apartment living has changed. Source: Supplied
The rise of apartments means far more families living in bigger and bigger apartment blocks: In 1991, 121,000 households lived in blocks of four storeys or more. Now it is 406,000 households.
Over 400,000 households live in a tall apartment block. That’s a lot of Australians. Source: Supplied
If you take into account the number of apartments recently completed and still under construction (the RBA reports a pipeline of nearly 200,000 higher density dwellings and under 100,000 new detached dwellings), this trend is set to grow even stronger.
For some people, this trade-off is one they make happily — by living in a smaller place, they save on commuting time and can spend more time with their family. But that is not a trade-off their parents had to face.
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