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Home Insurance

Apartment living pros and cons

2023-09-01 04:30

Important information

The information below refers to features and benefits of ANZ General Insurance products issued by CGU to new customers from 3 July 2023.
If you hold an ANZ Home Insurance policy issued by QBE, please refer to the Product Disclosure Statement available at for the relevant information. The features of the QBE and CGU issued insurance products are different. For more information on the General Insurance partner transition, visit our FAQs here.

Security, convenience, low maintenance and extra features such as a pool, make apartment living attractive to buyers and tenants alike. But there’s no getting away from the lack of space, parking and privacy, and dealing with strata, all of which can be disadvantages.

Living in an apartment is becoming an increasingly popular choice for Australians. As of the 2021 census, the ratio of occupied apartments to houses was one to four; while in 1991 the ratio was one to seven.

Apartment blocks range from small complexes with two or so dwellings to huge high-rise buildings containing hundreds or thousands of units. Regardless of the size you choose, you're likely to be living in close proximity to your neighbours and likely sharing the building's facilities.

Advantages of apartment living

Apartments are generally cheaper to buy

Generally speaking, apartments are more affordable to buy than houses in the same area. In the Domain House Price Report December 2022 the median house price in Sydney was reported as being over $1.4 million while the median apartment price was $748,422. Melbourne was much the same: the median house price was $1.03 million and the median apartment price $561,463.

Access to shared facilities

Some apartment blocks may offer a range of shared facilities, such as a pool, gym or tennis court, as well as communal spaces like barbeque areas, lawns and gardens, and function rooms. Some may even provide childcare, a cinema or hold events.

Apartments are easier to maintain

There are rarely individual gardens or lawns to take care of when living in an apartment, helping to make them easier to maintain. Many apartment complexes have greenery in the shared spaces which are typically maintained as part of strata. Other parts of the complex such as the gym or pool are often cleaned, repaired and maintained by building management to help you enjoy the benefits without the responsibilities you would usually have in a house.

Apartment security

While security measures do differ between apartment complexes, buildings can have security doors, cameras, keypad-secured entrances and secure garages. Some expensive apartments can also have a concierge or door-man services for extra security. You’re also likely to be in close proximity to your neighbours and if you live above the ground floor it may be harder for thieves to break-in.

What are the drawbacks of apartment living?

Space is generally more limited

The overall floor space is generally smaller in apartments, with rooms more compact than in houses. They often don’t have private outdoor space unless a balcony is included.

Noise and privacy

With so many people sharing a complex the noise level can be higher and privacy will be less than living in a house. This applies to both your own living space and communal areas.

Parking isn’t guaranteed

Unless you're in a building with allocated parking spots sometimes you may not be able to park close to the building. If you want a parking spot it's likely you'll pay an extra cost for it. 

Strata fees and restrictions

Living in an apartment block means being subject to rules around noise, use of communal areas, making changes to your apartment, and other matters set by the owners' corporation. If you're an owner you'll be liable for quarterly strata fees to pay for the upkeep and maintenance of communal areas. 

Purchasing an existing apartment or off the plan?

Whether you go for an apartment in an older building or a new development depends entirely on your preferences. Older apartments tend to be cheaper but can be stuck in the 70's style-wise, while newer ones often include more communal facilities and modern features. If you're tossing up between the two there are a few things to consider.

New builds often have modern features and fixtures and often more amenities such as fitness centres, pools, green spaces, car parks and multipurpose communal areas. If it's your first purchase, you may also be eligible for a first home owner grant.

On the other hand, older apartments are generally more affordable in sale and rental price, as well as ongoing costs though you may miss out on extras that come standard with newer builds such as air conditioning or ducted heating. They usually have lower strata fees, often because you're not paying for the amenities attached to newer complexes.

Older apartments tend to offer more living space and many are in smaller blocks. They're also often of double-brick construction, meaning they're more durable, can provide better insulation and help block out noise.

Protect your property

Whether you’re an owner or renter, consider insuring the contents inside an apartment. This could help protect you financially against loss, damage and paying for repairs should an insured event such as a fire, burst pipe or break-in take place.

If you are an owner-occupier, it is likely that your building is covered under Strata Insurance, and you may only need contents insurance. But check with the body that manages your property if you are unsure. If you’re a renter, you can take out contents insurance to protect the things you own and some parts of the apartment.

Contents insurance covers items that aren’t permanently fixed to the building. Subject to certain limits and conditions, things that will generally be covered by contents insurance include furniture, carpets, blinds or curtains, electronics and appliances, clothing, jewellery, and other personal possessions. Parts of the building as well as communal areas and common contents are usually covered by strata and not home contents insurance.

Apartment living pros and cons

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This information is current as at date of publication and is subject to change.

For new policies commencing from 3 July 2023 (inclusive) or policies migrated from QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited from 7 August 2023 (inclusive), ANZ Home Insurance is issued by Insurance Australia Limited (ABN 11 000 016 722, AFSL 227681) trading as CGU Insurance and distributed by ANZ under its own license. ANZ recommends that you read the ANZ Financial Services Guide (PDF), ANZ Home Building Key Facts Sheet (PDF), ANZ Home Contents Key Facts Sheet (PDF), ANZ Home Insurance Target Market Determination (PDF), ANZ Home Insurance Premium, Excess and Discounts Guide (PDF) and the ANZ Home Insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDF) (available online or by calling 13 16 14), before deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, this product.

For policies commenced before 3 July 2023 or policies renewed before 7 August 2023, ANZ Home Insurance is issued by QBE Insurance (Australia) Limited (ABN 78 003 191 035, AFSL 239 545). ANZ recommends that you read the ANZ Financial Services Guide (PDF), ANZ Home Building Key Facts Sheet (PDF), ANZ Home Contents Key Facts Sheet (PDF), ANZ Home Insurance Target Market Determination (PDF) and the ANZ Home Insurance Product Disclosure Statement (PDF) (available online or by calling 13 16 14), before deciding whether to acquire, or to continue to hold, this product. 

Although Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) ABN 11 005 357 522 AFSL 234527 distributes these products, ANZ does not guarantee or stand behind the issuers or their products.

This information is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.