The pros and cons of apartment living

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Data out yesterday showed that new home sales increased for a second consecutive month in June thanks to a spurt in multi-unit sales.

The HIA (Housing Industry Association) new home sales report showed a rise of 2.8 per cent in June 2012 due to a 15.7 per cent jump in the sales of multi-units.

However, as seems to be the case with the property market these days, it appears that one step forward is often in tandem with one step back, which pretty much leaves us where we started and that place in all fairness hasn’t been a great place to be since the GFC (yes, I just realised that rhymed too).

According to the HIA, the increase in multi-unit sales (up a highly impressive 30.8 per cent in June) was offset by a tepid result in the numbers of detached new house sales and was still some 36 per cent below the ten-year average. One hand gives, one takes away etc.

There is no doubt that the building industry is still struggling in many parts of the country, although lower interest rates along with various government new build grants or subsidies are likely to have provided a shot in the arm – albeit temporarily

The growth in the multi-unit market is becoming more prevalent across Australia, and one only has to look around Brisbane’s CBD and fringe suburbs to see an ever-increasing number of billboards selling the latest development off-the-plan. At the moment, we have boutique developments available as well as units in large multi-storey high-rises.

Living in an apartment, as the lay-person calls a multi-unit, is a popular and mostly more affordable option, especially for people of a certain generation who want to live close to all the action. However, as someone who has regularly lived in such an environment, it does come with its own set of complexities:

  1. It doesn’t matter how much you like your neighbour, or they might like you, if one of you is playing music loudly (whether it be Mendelssohn or Megadeath)  at 2am on a Tuesday morning, you are unlikely to be friends for very much longer;
  2. If you get to know your neighbours quite well, they will come and water your plants and feed your cat while you are away on holiday, and sometimes they don’t even drink the beer you have provided to them for such a selfless service;
  3. Sometimes people get a bit “tired” when they are carrying their garbage down to the communal rubbish area on the ground-floor and you nearly trip over a bag of food scraps that has been left halfway down the stairs outside your apartment;
  4. Sometimes you then wait for two full days to see if someone will guiltily collect said rubbish bag and “do the right thing”;
  5. Sometimes you end up taking the aforementioned rubbish bag to the bin yourself – and you are not very happy about it but writing about it is actually quite therapeutic;
  6. If it is very windy, sometimes your neighbour’s washing flies off their balcony a few floors above and somehow lands on your balcony but you don’t really mind because you got to know the lovely lady that lives in unit number nine;
  7. You don’t have to mow the lawn or clean the pool but you do have to begrudgingly pay the body corporate fees (unless you are a tenant);
  8. It is less than a 10-minute walk to get to your favourite bar;
  9. It is less than a 20-minute walk to get home from your favourite bar a few hours later.

By Nicola McDougall, Executive Manager, Corporate Affairs