06.12.2024 Buying Tips

What Makes The Perfect Apartment?

What Makes The Perfect Apartment?

What makes the perfect apartment in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs?

We take a look at what buyers search for most.

Apartment living has been becoming more popular, with a range of eastern suburbs residents.

Local first home buyers often love apartments for their relative affordability, compared to houses in the same area.

Downsizers tend to love the low-maintenance lock-up-and-leave living apartments can offer. Meanwhile, many families increasingly see apartment living as a long-term lifestyle choice.

Across Sydney, we need more apartments to help solve the city-wide housing crisis. But not all apartments are created equal, or come with the same appeal.

We examine what buyers are really looking for to find out what makes the perfect eastern suburbs apartment.

1. Location

Location is always the most important ingredient in what makes any property great – regardless of whether it’s an apartment, terrace, townhouse, villa or house. It’s also one of the things you can’t change.

That said, a great location means different things to different buyers. For some, it could mean proximity and easy access to transport, cafes and shops. For others, it could be proximity to great schools, or even the harbour or eastern beaches.

The Eastern Suburbs have so many great locations to choose from. From harbourside apartments in Double Bay or Potts Point to beachside apartments in Bondi, and from parkside apartments in Centennial Park to inner city loft-style apartments in Surry Hills or Paddington – there’s something for every lifestyle.

2. Versatile “extra” space

Versatile apartments with generous proportions always tend to attract a lot of buyers. The extra space could be an oversized lounge room, larger than normal bedrooms, or a spacious entrance lobby/hallway.

Increasingly, buyers also want flexible layouts that will suit them now, but also in the future. Maybe that’s because they want to eventually raise a family in the property or stay long-term into old age. Downsizers often want an extra room for their work or hobbies, which often doubles as a guest room when family comes to stay.

Since the pandemic hit, almost every buyer we meet thinks about how they could work from home in a property. This has made apartments with a dedicated study very popular, but many buyers are also happy to set up a desk in a corner of a spacious lounge or turn a spare bedroom into a home office.

3. Outdoor area

Buyers often choose apartments because they offer low-maintenance living. Strata levies mean that communal areas are looked after, bins are taken in and out for you, gutters and exterior windows are cleaned, and many plumbing or drainage issues aren’t your concern. But just because someone wants a low- maintenance property, doesn’t mean they don’t want outdoor space on title.

Buyers gravitate towards properties that offer good outdoor areas, like terraces, large balconies, courtyards, and small gardens. Apartments are always more popular when they offer good outdoor areas where you can entertain, grow some plants, have a pet, let the kids play, or just soak up the sun.

In fact, “balcony” and “outdoor area” are two of the most popular search terms on realestate.com.au for apartments.

4. Low-rise “boutique” blocks

Low-to-medium density apartments in “boutique” style blocks can offer a very different style of living to high-rise apartments.

Smaller blocks often especially appeal to downsizers, who can perceive them as offering more privacy than a larger apartment block.

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For this reason, we’re seeing smaller, upmarket blocks of three to 12 apartments being built across suburbs popular with downsizers, including Rose Bay and Double Bay. We’re also seeing a wave of rebuilds and refurbishments of older apartment blocks in popular locations such as Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay.

Many people especially like older “walk up” apartments from the 1920s and Art Deco eras through to the 1980s. These apartments tend to hold their value well as they were constructed in an era when quality, traditional building techniques were used.

5. Lift access

If there’s one thing that future-proofs an apartment, it’s a lift. After all, while stairs might offer a great daily workout, you never know when you may not be able to – or want to – climb them.

While lifts (as well as pools, tennis courts, and gyms) typically mean higher strata fees, they also broaden an apartment’s appeal. Parents with prams love lift access, as do downsizers. Many buyers will only consider apartments with level or lift access.

6. Ample parking

Parking is a valuable and coveted commodity in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. However, it can be scarce in older Art Deco blocks, as well as in smaller studio or one bedder apartments.

With Woollahra dwellings having an average of 1.4 vehicles, even a well-located apartment next to excellent public transport will be more popular if it has ample parking. Buyers seeking luxury penthouse apartments even expect a certain number of parking spots.

Besides, if you have a parking space and don’t want to use it yourself, you’re likely to find a neighbour wanting to lease it from you.

A case study of the perfect apartment

We recently listed 1/29-33 Mona Road, Darling Point. While this apartment won’t be in everyone’s budget, downsizers looking for the ultimate Eastern Suburbs apartment, would have to search hard to find anything better. The apartment will also appeal to families wanting the space and amenities of a house with the lifestyle of an apartment.

With 599 sqm on title, this apartment boasted three bedrooms, two living areas, double parking, lift access, private manicured gardens and even its own pool. It also offers access to communal facilities including a tennis court, second pool, gym and sauna.

Located right next door to amazing schools, excellent transport and parks and a short walk to the harbour, there really weren’t any more boxes that it could possibly tick.

The power of compromise in finding the perfect apartment

The perfect property can look very different, depending on who you ask. All buyers have their own wishlist of criteria. However, one thing that comes in handy in any property search is compromise.

As we’ve written before, being open to a property that ticks at least six out of 10 boxes may be the compromise you need to make to be in the location you want. That’s especially true if you can tick the other four boxes yourself over time, and add value to the property in the process.

Strata regulations and the way apartments are built can make it more challenging to modify an apartment compared to a house, but there are still ways to do it. Increasingly, we’re seeing buyers with the vision and patience to undertake a large-scale renovation to alter an apartment’s room configuration or layout.

There are also an increasing number of apartment amalgamations, where buyers purchase two adjoining apartments and remodel them into one larger apartment to create the perfect home.

Want more?

If you’re interested in buying or selling property in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, get in touch.