First Home Buyers – Should I buy a house or an apartment?

You have your finance sorted, so now it’s time to find that new home. So what type of property is right for you? A house or an apartment? Lets look at the pros and cons of each.


  • The old Australian dream – a house of an acre of land. All your own! An acre did I say? Not likely! Times have changed so a new home is probably on 400 m² or maybe 600 m² in some areas. Still it is all yours and that is important to many, particularly those with young children.
  • No neighbours you share walls with, have to share the lift with and so on. You don’t even have to make eye contact with them if you don’t want to.
  • On the other hand, owning a house often means that you actually do get to know your neighbours. Unlike apartment living where you can be too close for comfort with your neighbours, that little bit of extra space and no shared walls really does help to build relationships. If you all have young children and mortgages, that all helps as well.
  • The downside is that a new home will be in the ‘burbs’ somewhere. Not close to your favourite restaurants, bars or pretty much anything you have grown to love whilst you were renting.
  • Generally speaking most property commentators will tell you that houses have appreciated in value faster than apartments and townhouses. This is because of the higher level of land content that is represented in the overall purchase price of a house. There are differing views on whether this will always remain this way as Australia moves to a more inner city apartment lifestyle, however it has been true historically and that is the best indication of what the future will hold.
  • You own it and the land singularly, and you alone decide what you can and will do (subject to local council laws of course).


  • Location, location, location. This is the big plus for buying an apartment over a house or townhouse. You will be able to find an apartment in the suburb you love, which is close to work, close to the bars and restaurants you love and so on.
  • Do to the shared facilities, shared land that the building is built on etc, apartment buildings have a legal structure called Strata Title that regulates how owners deal with each other and these shared facilities. State laws regulate how owners need to jointly agree on how to fund and manage maintenance and repairs and overall management of these shared facilities. This means that you will be attend meetings and vote on decisions affecting all owners. In some instances you may not get the outcomes you want.
  • Shared walls are never a great thing. I think we have all been woken up at some stage by banging or loud music from a shared wall.
  • Generally apartments are more expensive to own than houses in terms of yearly expenses. When you take into account rates, body corporate fee’s, sinking funds and so on, they can often be much higher than owning a house. We say this with a word of warning however.
  • Facilities in many apartment complex’s are outstanding and a major drawcard for apartment living. Pools, gym’s, BBQ’s area’s, roof top bar’s and more are not uncommon. Many of these facilities are unattainable in a home.

Written: 23 May 2017

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