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Spotlight on: luxury apartment living

Welcome to the high life

Once upon a time, the dream of home ownership comprised a quaint cottage with a white picket fence.

Today, it involves sprawling city views, an on-site gym and a dashing doorman. Luxury apartment living is booming in Australia, with buyers and renters of all ages lapping up the benefits.

“The trend started at the turn of this decade and has been growing in prominence ever since,” says Charles Tarbey, Chairman of Century 21 in Australia. Envisioning your own plush penthouse? Here’s everything you need to know.

Apartment with custom built entertainment unit
This contemporary apartment in Sydney is a great second home for a Singapore-based family. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread | Styling: Lisa Hilton)

Why are luxury apartments trending?

A rooftop pool, swanky spa and in-house cinema may seem beyond your reasonable real-estate possibilities, but apartment living makes luxury more accessible than ever.

Cutting-edge design and dazzling finishes define the best blocks on the market, which take cues from five-star hotels with their lavish lobbies and lounges. Some even come with a concierge who facilitates deliveries, dry-cleaning and other day-to-day demands.

However it’s not all about opulence, but rather, convenience. A body corporate or strata firm looks after all the general maintenance of a complex, and many residents delight in the lock-and-leave lifestyle if affords (namely, travelling to the coast on weekends rather than mowing the lawns).

Apartment entryway
Apartments require much less maintenance than a freestanding home. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread)

Who makes up the market?

Today’s luxury apartment inhabitants are an inter-generational bunch. Millennials are increasingly choosing to rent for lifestyle and buy where they can afford – so while they might have invested in the aforementioned weatherboard in the ‘burbs, they’re opting to live in a slick urban apartment kitted out with high-end amenities.

Then, there are the Baby Boomer downsizers. “Many homeowners have gained equity over the years and can comfortably sell and have sufficient funds to buy a quality apartment with funds left over,” says Tarbey. “Also, personal security is an issue confronting older couples, and apartment living gives them a strong feeling of safety.”

Finally, it seems we’re taking cues from mega-cities like New York and London. Families with children now make up a quarter of Australia’s total apartment population, with the figure increasing by 56 per cent between 2011 and 2016, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Black and white staircase
Larger homes with multiple stories may be great for young families, but older homeowners may prefer the convenience and security apartment living offers. (Credit: Photography: Kristina Soljo | Styling: Lisa Burden)

What to look out for …

Future buyers and renters alike should approach the luxury apartment market with a considered eye.

“Find a complex that has a high owner-occupier scenario, as this can guarantee minimal disruption,” advises Tarbey.  “When there’s a high level of investor-ownership, movement within the complex is frequent.”

If you’re looking to buy, check that the strata fees are in line with other comparable complexes and that there’s a solid sinking fund – this will be your safety net for communal expenses, from exterior painting to a broken elevator to water damage.

“Be mindful of the position and orientation of the apartment – a west-facing apartment isn’t ideal in the Australian climate [due to intense afternoon sunlight],” says Tarbey.

WIN a $1 million luxury apartment*

You could win your very own luxury apartment at AURA by Aqualand in North Sydney. Designed by award-winning architects Woods Bagot and leading interior architects Richards Stanisich, the one-bedroom apartment features designer interiors, open space living and access to world-class amenities including a pool, gym, outdoor sky deck and concierge service. 


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Render of a kitchen in an apartment at Aura apartments in North Sydney
AURA by Aqualand sets a new precedent for luxury living, and could be your brand new home!

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