Increasingly, it seems that apartment living is the way of the future - a view that’s only been reinforced by recent Federal Government initiatives, including a budget measure to boost the superannuation coffers to retirees who choose to sell their home. But it’s not only baby boomers that stand to benefit from living smaller and smarter. It’s proving to be an enticing prospect for people from all walks of life. Here’s a list of five compelling reasons the experts believe will have you considering a resize.
1. Out with the old
When moving into any new home, storage is always one of the biggest challenges but it’s also the perfect opportunity to get rid of unused or unwanted items. Social researcher Mark McCrindle says that in the case of baby boomers, often they’ve been holding onto lots of stuff that isn’t actually theirs. “They’ve been providing a free storage facility for their kids and if the rightful owners take their things, the parents may find they have less than they thought,” he says. Sue Axlund is the interior design genius behind Capital Bluestone’s Esplanade project at Norwest Lake and works at the coal face of helping residents work out how to store the items they do want in their homes. “It’s all about selecting the most functional pieces for each area and creating as many clever storage solutions as required,” she says. “For example, bed bases are available with storage drawers, or you can shop around for a local joiner to make custom shelving units to suit what you want to keep.”
2. Good for guests
Everyone enjoys having guests or grandkids to stay over and this is entirely possible living in an apartment if you have a utility room or a study, where a small sofa bed can accommodate guests. “And if the grandkids are staying often, this is a great opportunity to put a bunk bed in and create a special little room that is just for them,” says Sue Axlund. However, the biggest plus for guests staying over is, ironically, everything outside of the apartment! Director at PRDnationwide Norwest David Inkster says there’s something for everyone at Esplanade, including open air cinemas, putting greens, pools, gardens and generous landscaped parks and spaces. “You don’t need to worry about people sitting around for hours in your apartment when there are a multitude of things to do right outside your door – it’s all right there,” he says. “The kids could be down in the pool, you could take them downstairs for a milkshake, for a walk along the foreshore or even an excursion into the city, with the train station only a short walk away.”
3. Lock-up and leave
A garden or yard is lovely to enjoy but they take an enormous amount of time and effort to maintain. Certainly, a growing number of people are ditching the pruning shears, in exchange for a well-manicured balcony garden. In fact, Mr McCrindle says his research shows the lock-up and leave aspect is one of the biggest appeals of apartment living. “If, on a whim, you want to go away for a weekend or for an extended trip you can - you don’t have to worry about maintenance. Also, a lot of blokes can’t wait to not have to mow the lawn,” he says. Mr Inkster says apartment living also doesn’t mean that you don’t get to enjoy the outdoors. “You just need to think about gardening in a different way,” he says. “Gardens can be catered for within balconies. You can have a vertical garden, a herb garden or an outdoor living and dining area. And the benefit of these gardens is that they’re much easier to maintain,” he says. Still not convinced? Maybe it’s best to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Jorginer and Inderjit Lamba have purchased an apartment at Esplanade and can’t wait to resize their way of life.
4. Pets welcome
In the past, apartment living was prohibitive to pet-owners but in what’s probably the biggest ever change to the strata laws, furry friends are now welcome! Mark McCrindle says the strata change is reflective of what’s happening in society. “In Sydney, two thirds of all new house approvals are apartments, that’s where the growth is. That’s why the strata change reflects this, it gives a lot more power to the residents over the by-laws,” he says. New developments are certainly paying attention to what residents want. “At Esplanade, we understand pets are part of your family and this is catered for with large balconies and access to amenities,” says Sue Axlund. “By walking your dog each day, you can also get to know the neighbourhood and your neighbours.”
5. Love thy neighbour
We’ve all been at the mercy of noisy neighbours at one time or another but new developments are taking every step to ensure this isn’t something you’ll need to worry about. David Inkster says at Esplanade, noisy gatherings have been catered for with specifically designed communal spaces. “There is the sky garden and the resort room that comes off the pool area, which is a facility that owners and occupiers will be able to use or hire out for parties or functions,” he says. And if you’re still concerned about privacy outside? “Clever screening with pots and plants can provide a wonderfully private outdoor space,” says Sue Axlund. “But why not just meet your neighbours and invite them in for a drink, so you can get to know how you both like to live in your space. You never know, you might even make a friend.”