When considering whether to buy a house or an apartment, you must consider numerous factors such as your lifestyle, property acquirement goals, and financial position.
You might favour an inner-city lifestyle, close to the hustle and bustle, or the space and freedom that comes from a suburban property. Houses and apartments are very different investments with different advantages and disadvantages. You must carefully consider your goals (do you want to live in the property or is it an investment?) so that you find the right property to suit your needs.
Here are some things to think about when deciding between a house and an apartment.
Buying a house
- Houses usually have a bit of land so your neighbours won’t be breathing down your neck. You can live without the fear of constantly disturbing your neighbours, and being disturbed by them.
- Floor space. Houses simply have more square meterage than apartments. You’ll be more comfortable and have more room for your family and friends.
- If you like the idea of a garden or playing footy outside with your kids, then houses give you this opportunity right outside your back door. You’ll also have the freedom to entertain and enjoy your own private outdoor space.
- Owning some house and land gives you the freedom to make any sort of renovations, expansions and changes to the house, as long as they fall within council guidelines. This gives you a great opportunity to add value to the house if you eventually wish to sell.
- Higher cost. Houses are generally more expensive to buy and operate than apartments. Land rates are more expensive and things like heating and cooling will be more expensive. Don’t forget all the appliances and furniture you have to buy.
- Houses have lawns that need mowing, gardens to maintain and windows to clean. There is a lot to maintain in order to keep your house looking nice, but it can be very rewarding when everything looks good.
Buying an apartment
- Lower cost. Apartments are generally cheaper than houses. Even in inner city areas, you can find apartments which are cheaper than some houses in outer suburbs. Utilities and maintenance costs are also cheaper in apartments.
- Apartments are usually built in inner-city areas which puts you close to transport, schools, and all the lifestyle benefits of being close to the city. Maybe you work in the city and you want to cut down your commute.
- Less maintenance. Most structural maintenance is handled body corporate so you won’t need to stress about any large repairs. You also won’t have to mow lawns or tend to a garden in an apartment.
- Apartments are usually protected by outer doors and gates, so any potential thieves will have to pass through this before they even get to your door. This will give you extra peace of mind that you and your belongings are safe.?
- Many apartment blocks have extra facilities such as a gym, pool, playground, shared gardens or BBQ areas. These added benefits may just convince you to buy an apartment over a house.
- Owner by-laws. Apartments usually have a set of rules and guidelines ensure neighbours are considerate of one another. These rules are usually things like whether or not you can have pets in the apartment block, and stopping people hanging clothes off their balcony. Also keep in mind that if you want to renovate or make any major changes to your apartment, you may need to seek approval first.
- Less space. Apartments simply have less space than houses and you will have to be careful what you bring in to your apartment because you don’t have unlimited space.
- Apartments are quite cosy and you’re likely to hear your neighbours fight, or when they play music, and they’ll be able to hear when you do the same things. Good neighbours are considerate of these things, but if you really value your privacy then living in an apartment may not be for you.
- Maintenance costs are split between apartment owners in a block, so you will need to factor this into the cost of owning an apartment.
What is a better investment?
In most cases, houses make for better investments than apartments because the value of property is in the land, and having an apartment means you only own a tiny sliver of the land your apartment block is on.
Houses will bring in a higher rental yield than the equivalent apartment. However, houses are more expensive than apartments so the extra cost of purchase may offset the extra rental income. If you want to maximise rental yield and minimise your costs, buying an apartment may be the better choice.
Most property investors are after good capital growth on the value of their property. In a strong property market, the value of property usually doubles every five to ten years. This is a sound investment strategy which has made a lot of money for many Australians and has contributed to the property boom.
Houses show much stronger capital growth than apartments, period. If you are investing for long-term growth, most of the time buying a house is the best decision. The value of property is in the land and most Australians see land as more valuable than an apartment.
It is more important to consider other factors which affect the value of property such as location, the potential for capital growth, rental yield and the facilities close by. If you answer these questions, you will have a clearer idea of what sort of property is right for your purposes.
So house or apartment?
To answer this question for yourself, you must answer some other questions about your goals in buying a property. Do you want to live in this property? Does it suit your lifestyle needs? Will it bring strong capital growth? Do you plan to stay here long term? There are many questions you need to answer to narrow down the many properties on the market, but the clearer you are about your goals, the easier it will be to decide whether a house or an apartment meets those goals.