Sydney’s dalliance with apartment living is growing into a full-blown, long term relationship, according a new study investigating the proliferation of vertical living since the 1990s.
Commissioned by property industry peak body Urban Taskforce Australia, the Sydney Lifestyle Study by McCrindle Research shows that apartments will make up more than half of all private dwellings in Sydney by 2057.
And areas of Sydney, more used to traditional house and land neighbourhoods such as the Hills, are now key hotspots where apartments are increasingly making their mark.
“Our research indicates that the apartment lifestyle is getting more popular and is favoured by a range of household types,” said Urban Taskforce CEO Chris Johnson.
“We found that 20% of Sydney’s apartments are now occupied by families with children and a further 8% by single parent families. Just like the global cities of London and New York, Sydney is becoming more cosmopolitan with many people wanting to live in urban locations with good access to public transport and amenities. It will be important for councils and governments to support these trends rather than see change as a problem,” Mr Johnson said.
One of the key factors behind this change in dwelling type is that apartments built today bring major lifestyle benefits, combining the best of architecture and amenity for effortless living without the lawns.

Vertical neighbourhoods
With families, urban couples and retirees increasingly drawn to apartment living, developers are focusing on creating communities that people love to live in.
Director of PRDnationwide Norwest, David Inkster, says that at communities like Esplanade Norwest social gatherings have been catered for with specifically designed communal spaces.
“There are 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 said.
In the past, apartment living was prohibitive to pet owners but in what is probably the biggest ever change to the strata laws, furry friends are now welcome.
Social demographer Mark McCrindle, founder and principal of 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,” he said.
Interior designer and stylist Sue Axlund agrees that what residents want and need as part of their daily lives is at the forefront of new developments.
“I’ve noticed developers taking notice of how important the furbabies are — you can see larger balconies and access to outdoors. And by walking your dog each day, you can also get to know the neighbourhood and your neighbours. It becomes a social event in itself,” she said.

Design savvy
Today’s contemporary apartments maximise space, style and storage with far more efficiency than most detached houses.
Sue Axlund works closely with buyers at projects like Capital Bluestone’s Esplanade to help them envisage how to make the “resize” and “restyle” from house to apartment without compromising on the things they love, like a treasured piece of furniture or piece of art.
“It’s all about selecting the most functional pieces for each area and creating as many clever storage solutions as required,” she said. “For example, you can shop around for a local joiner to make custom shelving units for any space.”

Room for all
Everyone enjoys having guests or grandkids to stay over, but many downsizers fear they will no longer be able to entertain as they used to. Now many new developments have taken this into account with utility rooms or studies that do double duty in the sleepover stakes.
More than the apartments themselves, it’s often the lifestyle features that hold most appeal for both residents and their guests.
For David Inkster, integrated developments that feature everything from infinity-edge pools to gyms and open-air cinemas are lifting the lifestyle bar, and the Hills are getting their fair share of the resort-style action.
“You don’t need to worry about people sitting around for hours in your apartment when there is a multitude of things to do right outside your door — it’s all right there,” he said.

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