02/06/2021 - 14:00

Why apartments could be the new quarter acre block

02/06/2021 - 14:00

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The Great Australian dream of homeownership is changing explains Catherine Lezer, president of the Strata Community Association WA.

Catherine Lezer. Photo: Strata Community Association WA

The Great Australian dream of homeownership is changing. For a growing number of West Australians, it’s now an apartment.

I bought my first apartment with my husband in 1999. I’ve lived in apartments ever since. I don’t want to do gardens. I like gardens, but I don’t want a garden to rule my life. I like to swim now and again, but not enough to justify getting a house and a pool. We also like to travel. Apartment living suits us very well.

The Great Australian dream for home ownership has changed. For some people it’s still the traditional quarter acre block and brick and tile home, but for others it is apartment or strata living. If you get a nice apartment and it has the space you want, the view you want, the location you want, there’s nothing better.

Until this point the apartment market in Perth has been investor driven, but some of the small one and two bedroom apartments don’t do anybody any favours.

I’d like to think, though, that the liveability of apartments is coming to the fore, with more emphasis on size and design.

As I go around talking to different developers and designers, they’re all realising there is a market for well-designed, larger apartments.

If the average house in Australia is 240 square metres why can’t the average apartment be about that?

I recently saw a building coming online in Crawley and they are building one apartment per floor. I’m going to watch that building for how quickly they sell out.

In Perth, we’re in the learning and growth stage. When you look at some of the complexes being built now, I think developers are trying different things.

I went to have a look at a complex in Swanbourne where the common areas included a wine tasting room. They had meeting rooms and dining rooms you could book out if you had a big party.

I think that’s a good sign. I think the market is starting to mature in the sophistication of the developers and the understanding of what the consumer wants.

There are still so many people who don’t understand apartments and strata living. Some owners think because they have strata managers they don’t have to get involved. But as owners, you do need to be involved. It’s our job at Strata Community Association WA to educate people on their rights and responsibilities. When you get strata right, it is just wonderful.

In Sydney about 35 per cent of the housing stock is apartments. Almost everything close to the city is apartments. Here, about 6 per cent of households live in apartments.

There are lifestyle factors you can get in an apartment that you don’t get in a house.

One of the buildings in East Perth where I lived for a time, it was a Christmas Day and I ran out of Glad Wrap. I went and asked the neighbour if I could borrow some. The next thing I am having a champagne with them. That sense of community is like nothing else you can experience.

FAST FACTS

*  6 per cent of Western Australian households live in apartments, according to a 2020 Australasian Strata Insights report by the University of NSW and sponsored by SCA.

*  Units, apartments and townhouse sales in WA outpaced house sales for growth in the three months to March 2021, according to REIWA. Sales activity on multi residential dwelling sales was up 58 percent on the same period in 2020, while house sale volumes rose 35 percent, it reported.

*  WA is building the second biggest townhouses and apartments at an average 150.5 square metres, behind Victoria, according to a CommSec Home Size report published in November, 2020.

 

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