Friends Effect on Strata Living Trends


SSKB Strata Managers - the "Friends" effect is a big draw for apartment living

by Bethany King

Were you one of the many who loved watching shows like Friends and Sex and the City in the late nineties and early naughties (or even love catching the midday replays today)?

Did the idea of having an inner city apartment from which you could easily access boutique coffee shops, convenient transport or even walk to work, or easy catch up with friends in the hustle and bustle of big city life really appeal to you?

Cultural shifts evident in shows like Friends and Sex and the City influence people and their desires and are actually reflected in the property market.

In this generation, people are waiting longer to have kids, instead focusing on their career or their social life. When this is the case, the quarter acre block doesn’t hold the same appeal as a highly finished unit in close proximity to fine coffee, live music, transport, entertainment venues, and your work place.

This type of lifestyle pioneered in the New York apartments splashed across our screens, as well as in other global cities such as London and Shanghai, is now more evident than ever in Australia capital cities. Perhaps one can say that as per usual, Australians are following American trends.

In Australia, 40% of new dwellings are apartments or units, with this figure only predicted to rise. When prospective owners and tenants are weighing up affordability, quality, location, convenience, security, facilities and community –increasing numbers of Australians are deciding that apartments satisfy these criteria more than stand alone houses.

While the popularity of apartment living for young people in the inner city may have been jumpstarted by shows such as Friends, the appeal of strata living has since broadened.

Apartment buildings and strata complexes are now found in country towns, coastal regions and even remote outskirts – this type of living perhaps providing the community experience that living in a stand alone house cannot.

While strata living has long been touted as the solution to the affordability crisis for 20-30 somethings, demand is also increasingly coming from the large Baby Boomer population who are ready to downsize.

And now, in a sign that strata living is no longer confined to those wishing to replicate the bar-hopping, carefree lifestyle of those aforementioned TV shows, if you have a family – strata can still meet your needs:

  • Strata living can breed a great community environment because when you have shared facilities, you get to know each other.
  • The idea of living in an apartment for extra space may sound counter-intuitive, but where traditional housing is getting more expensive, back yards are getting smaller. An apartment complex may provide large green shared spaces or pools for your use, which you may not be able to afford on your own.
  • Smart councils will plan to increase parks, transport, libraries, recreation centres and similar services in areas of increasing density.
  • Increasingly, building developers and architects have acknowledged the move away from the traditional apartment demographic and are creating family friendly environments.

Another cultural shift is also evident – strata living is no longer the necessary evil, a temporary solution until a house can be purchased. Many are foregoing altogether the traditional Australian dream of a ‘veranda out the front, a clothesline out the back’, instead preferring a nice city view and a bus stop out the front and a vertical garden and shared pool out the back.

The appeal of apartments over houses rose significantly with the length of time renters had lived in flats, suggesting personal experience eventually outweighs traditional antipathy to apartment living.

Most importantly community titling gives Australians choice about how and where they want to live. It is clear Australia wide that community titles schemes are being embraced as housing or investment options that suit our situations and lifestyles. With the next Australian census looming just around the corner, it will be interesting to see how the increasing popularity of strata living for all Australians is reflected.

Speaking of Friends…
We found a great feature that showcases the apartment floor plans of famous TV sitcoms. They were drawn by Spanish interior designer Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde. Can you ‘spot the star’? Take a look here.



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