Aussies swap the 'burbs for apartments

Written on the 15 April 2013 by Marshall Hall

Australians are increasingly switching from the dream of buying a home in the suburbs and are embracing apartment living within the country’s 18 largest cities, the latest Federal Government research reveals.

The State of Australian Cities 2012 report shows that attached dwellings now represent nearly 28 per cent of all homes in Australia (up from 25.1 per cent in 1996) and that figure is increasing.

The report said Canberra was currently leading the shift towards higher-density housing, with an upward shift of 40 per cent since 1985. Nearly 70 per cent of all approvals for new dwellings in Canberra are for attached dwellings.

Patrik Bruhlmann, the chief executive of Australia’s only listed body corporate management company Vesture Limited, says the report shows that most of the nation’s other 17 cities with a population of at least 100,000 were starting to follow suit.

“For quite a few years now approvals for attached dwellings have outstripped approvals for homes in Sydney and Darwin while we are starting to see a surge in attached dwelling approvals in Brisbane and Melbourne,’’ said Mr Bruhlmann.

“However, the research shows that the trend is yet to emerge in Adelaide, Hobart and Perth.”

The Australian Bureau of Statistics research defines attached dwellings as including semi-detached houses, terrace/row/townhouses, flats, units and apartments

Mr Bruhlmann said the figures showed that more and more Australians were embracing apartment living.

“The traditional Australian dream of owning house on a quarter acre block is fast changing as people start looking for a relaxed, inner-city lifestyles at different points in their lives,’’ he said.

“Where in the past we would have seen young couples buying their first home in the suburbs, we are instead seeing more and more young people purchasing apartments as their first homes,’’ he said.

“They are enjoying the inner city lifestyle for several years before moving to the suburbs to raise children.

“At the other end of the spectrum are the empty nesters who are moving into apartments for convenience and lifestyle reasons.

“This is contrast to the past where many older Australians would remain in their large suburban homes until they were frail.”

According to the State of Australian Cities 2012 report, the Gold Coast is nation’s apartment capital with nearly 40% of the population now living in attached housing while Sydney is a very close second.

Northern Australian hot spots Darwin, Cairns and the Sunshine Coast round out the top five cities for apartment living.

Despite gains in recent years, Melbourne is still lagging Sydney with only about 25 per cent of dwellings included in the attached category


Author: Marshall Hall