Why condos make lifestyle sense

A cheaper entry price, convenience and a desire to maximise leisure time are three key benefits to buying a condo rather than a house.

Any decision should be weighed against your financial and property ownership goals, of course, but often the mental tug of war between buying a house or a condo or unit is ultimately influenced by lifestyle choices.

Units tend to be cheaper because they feature with far less land. But while a house can appreciate more in value due to its land component, this becomes less of an issue if your preferred location – perhaps one where a house is not affordable – saves you hundreds of hours commuting to and from work.

The price difference also means buyers have a greater choice of neighborhoods in their price bracket.

Here are seven great reasons why buying a condo can be a smart choice:

Cheaper: The median price for a condo across the capital cities is significantly less less than the equivalent for a house. This means as a buyer you have a greater choice of affordable areas, or you can avoid a larger mortgage and enjoy more disposable income.

Cost Savings: Condos do not require the up-keep that houses demand from their owner. Maintenance work is the domain of a strata committee. Through the strata or body corporate fees, you contribute to the cost of any necessary work for common areas, boundary walls and building insurance. While the fee requires budgeting, it’s likely to be significantly less than carrying the entire overhead of a house.

Time Saver: The ability to live closer to your place of work – or in a lifestyle location – may offer significant benefits. A long commute, sometimes sucking up two or more hours a day, can be soul-destroying and create significant challenges to your family. The value of time should never be under-estimated. As the legendary investor Warren Buffet says, “you can buy anything except time”.

Smaller footprint: Condos are usually not as large as detached houses. While this is not an advantage of itself, a smaller home means lower utility bills. 

Extra facilities. Quality condos can feature an array of services exclusive to you and your neighbors. These might include a gym, swimming pool or tennis court. Strata fees will cover the cost of these services, but your potential use of them should be factored in when considering whether to purchase a condo or house.

Safe and Secure: Most condos and apartments require key card access and are far more secure than most houses.

These benefits must be weighed up against some of the cons. These include rules imposed by the strata committee or body corporate, such as a ban on pet ownership. Less privacy and space are two of the other compromises that must be made. 

But if these are lesser evils than paying more for a house, losing your preferred location and commuting – or living somewhere close to great amenities – then a condo could be the right choice for you.