Apartment Living – Building Castles in the sky
With Brisbane’s star on the rise, many people have focused on the changes ahead, such as the impact of a more centralised population and how that will affect the lifestyle of people in the city. But rather than looking at upcoming changes as a bad thing, it’s important to think about how our expectations as a population are changing, and how that’s driving the market.
The Australian dream is moving away from a white picket fence and a backyard big enough for the dog and a few kids to play in (never mind the Hills Hoist!). It seems more and more people are willing to give up space in and around their property to be closer to parks, cafés and entertainment areas. They also want to be closer to friends and family, a desire that drives more people living in tighter groups instead of low-density suburban sprawl.
Australians voicing these priorities puts a different face on news coverage in the past about how renters and buyers alike were being forced to compromise on their housing goals. In 2015, the media focused on the unattainability of homeownership rather than considering that many people were happy renting. Those articles and attitudes didn’t consider that people weren’t willing to prioritise home ownership over lifestyle. Instead, the shift we’re seeing now represents the changing values in younger generations and retirees — and shows the importance of housing diversity in cities to appeal to all walks of life. These changes in the types and number of houses and apartment being built also allow more people to get a foot on the property ladder without compromising on their priorities — it’s a win-win for tenants and developers.
That’s another point — it’s not just the buyers. There are plenty of people, from young singles to married retirees, who prefer to keep shallow roots and rent an apartment. People aren’t looking for somewhere they can live for the next twenty years; they want to keep their options open. In fact, a recent Courier Mail article revealed that 28% of Queenslanders would be happy to never own the house they live in, and just rent instead. This is great news for landlords, as maintenance costs on apartments are typically far lower than freestanding houses.
With house prices higher than ever throughout Australia, Brisbane is an increasingly appealing prospect for singles and couples alike. A National Bank Australian survey showed that 92% of the 2000 survey respondents thought that Queensland was a ‘great place to live’, showing it as one of the most positive states in the country (alongside Tasmania). While competitive housing prices and warmer weather are what sets Brisbane apart from its southern counterparts, the real cherry on the top is the proposed infrastructure work to be done throughout the city and state over the next ten years. Not only will this rejuvenate the city itself, but will put Brisbane on the map as a dynamic, economically attractive place to live with plenty of sport, entertainment venues and lifestyle perks.
While it may feel like a compromise that we’re moving away from backyards and gardens, lifestyle, work and priority shifts make apartments an attractive prospect, and a first choice for newcomers to the city. Increased apartment development is not a sign of compromised values, instead it’s a smart pivot by the market to meet the increasing demands of would-be buyers and renters.