House or Apartment: Choosing The Right Place to Live

21.02.24 | Marc Barlow | Resources

House or Apartment: Choosing The Right Place to Live

Buying a 3-bedroom house on a quarter-acre block used to be called the “Australian dream”. But with a bigger population, a higher concentration of people choosing to live in big cities like Melbourne, and changing budgets and lifestyles, more and more people are turning to apartments.

Whether you’re a first homebuyer, scaling up for a family, or paring back for a simpler life, there are lots of pros and cons to living in a house or an apartment. 

From up-front costs to eventual sales potential, here are a few things to keep in mind when looking for somewhere to live.

* Note that deciding where to live is different to purchasing an investment property. This article focuses on residential purchasers.


Why houses are better

The decision to buy a house in Australia offers several advantages, including:

  • potential property value appreciation: land tends to increase in value, while buildings tend to decline over time
  • freedom to make changes and control the outward appearance: choose paint colours, paving, plants and trees (subject to your local council, of course)
  • room for growth: extend, maybe build a granny flat, or perhaps even subdivide
  • space: enjoy a garden or courtyard, and have room for storage
  • privacy: nobody playing loud music upstairs or parking in your car spot (unless you have kids!)
  • no owners’ corporation: so no weird rules, by-laws, meetings or fees
  • room to hang out the washing: and maybe a trampoline too.


Why apartments are better

The simplicity of apartment living is typified by advantages such as:

  • price: comparing similar standard places, apartments are cheaper than houses – Core Logic reported a 45% difference across Australia in Feb 2024
  • on-site amenities: gyms, pools and access to shared gardens are sometimes available
  • lower maintenance: no lawns, big gardens, rooves or exteriors to look after
  • security: extra barriers between you and the street
  • lifestyle and convenience: apartments are commonly located near services and public transport
  • off-street parking: some houses have this, but many don’t, especially in big cities.


Your circumstances

Weighing up these considerations is impossible without considering your present lifestyle requirements and your future goals: 

  • Do you want to start a family?
  • Do you have kids who will soon be moving out?
  • Is this a place to live and an investment?

And then there’s the money.

With a house, there’s usually more to spend on ongoing maintenance and council rates. Having said that, owners’ corporation or strata fees are still paid by apartment owners to cover repairs and maintenance on boundary walls, common areas, building insurance and services.

As a general principle, up-front and ongoing costs of home ownership are higher than apartments, but house property values tend to increase faster than apartments.


Talk to us

As with any real estate decision, doing your research is essential. You need to plan your budget and work out how much you can afford now and in the future.

Make an appointment to talk to us. Mortgage Broker Melbourne has access to industry tools, calculators and property market information that can help guide your choice.,

If you find a place you like, we can help find the best loan to suit your circumstances, and even help with the paperwork! Best of all, or service is always free to you (we are paid a commission by the lender you choose, which we fully disclose to you. Lender and Govt fees and charges may be payable).

Contact us today. Let us do the legwork.