Reasons to be cheerful

In this column’s relentless campaign to act as both problem solver and trouble-maker, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of why we live in apartments in the first place.
The most obvious is location. You can live extremely comfortably in or near the city centre for a fraction of what it would cost to have a free-standing home.
Proximity to work also increases your earning power. Those extra hours of non-commuting time – 90 minutes a day adds up to an entire working day a week – can surely be put to better use.
Having a choice of cafes, restaurants, cinemas and shops may seem trivial … until you’ve been restricted to your suburban megamart. If fitness is an issue, your choice of building could offer you free access to a gym and pool right on your doorstep.
It’s no accident that strata units are a popular option for empty nesters. Level access is important for those of us anticipating a mid to near future of compromised sprightliness. OK, you still have to pay your share for maintenance, but it’s a lot less and you don’t have to do the work yourself or organise and supervise tradesmen.
In new apartments, kitchens, bathrooms, lights and electrical sockets are properly planned – not determined by the needs of successive previous owners of your house.
Parking, though one of the biggest gripes in strata, it’s also one of its great advantages. I know streets of $1million terraced houses whose owners have to compete for on-street parking, with all its perils.
If security is a concern, height off the ground helps while individual floors in many new buildings can only be accessed with a security key and in some, CCTV and even concierges monitor entrances.
That said, you can still come and go fairly anonymously of you so desire but a sense of community is there if you want it.
And finally there are the views of our glorious harbour and beautiful parks. Some people even like the ever-changing urban mosaic of street life and rooftops. Life in apartments isn’t perfect – this much we know – but, really, why would you ever want to live in a house?

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