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Unit Living a Preference for Families

Saturday, 19th March 2011

The suburban dream is all but gone with more families choosing apartment living over detached housing. It is one of the biggest changing trends we are seeing in the property market today.

The suburban dream is all but gone with more families choosing apartment living over detached housing.  It is one of the biggest changing trends we are seeing in the property market today.

And while this has a great deal to do with affordability, it is also about lifestyle.

By 2031, 45 percent of Sydney's housing stock is forecast to be high-density - up from 35 percent in 2001.

Property experts such as trend demographer Bernard Salt are getting on board and agreeing this is where Generation X and Y are headed.

Even the Bureau of Statistics show that building permits for units and apartments has doubled in the past twelve months.

There is the obvious in affordability.  The median house price in Australia is $504,000 while the median apartment price is $423,000.  And in Sydney the median house price is $605,000 compared to $461,000 for apartments.  So, that is the first draw card.

But what do families see aside from the affordability factor?

According to working mum, Carolyn Lee, affordability was the reason for their first apartment purchase, but now it is her family's preferred lifestyle.

"My husband and I wanted to buy a house when we first started looking to purchase a property but we just couldn't afford it," Ms Lee said.

"So we bought our first apartment and when my son was born and we were in the position to buy a house we upsized into another apartment instead.

"We were living in Chatswood and loved being right at the railway station and close to the shops.  We also made a lot of friends in the development and we felt extremely safe in that environment.

"Our kids are quite independent and we felt much happier about them being in a built-up area and coming home to a well-lit building rather than a dark house," she said.

But with the children now fast approaching their high school years, and with another little one on the way, Ms Lee says the most important thing now is the children's education.

"We have been doing our homework and checking out the new My School Website and the best performing schools are in the north-west," Ms Lee said.

"In fact, the best performing school, James Ruse Agricultural High is in Carlingford and other great performing schools include Carlingford High, Cheltenham Girls School and Epping Boys High School.  We are thinking the Kings School for our son and Tara Anglican School for Girls for our daughter and they are also highly recognised schools for performance.

"So, we are definitely going to be looking to buy in that area."

And it is developer Harry Triguboff who saw this trend coming before anyone else and he acted on it.

His company Meriton now not only build for singles and couples but their direction now has a strong orientation towards families.

Meriton sales manager, James Sialepis says the Lee family are not in the minority and this is exactly the market Meriton is attracting.

"Our development, Epping Park would be a perfect choice for the Lee family," Mr Sialepis said.

"It is within walking distance of Eastwood and Epping railway stations and there is a bus route that runs right by the development to the schools of the Lee's choice in Parramatta," he said.

"And with a baby on the way and teenage children as well, we have the facilities to accommodate everyone in the family," he said.

Epping Park on the old Channel 7 site in Mobbs Lane offers a very enviable lifestyle for any family.

With tennis courts, gymnasium, spa and sauna, lap pools, 24-hour on-site security/caretaker, childcare centre on site all amidst 3.1 acres of parklands with children's playgrounds, it is a family paradise.

"All the experts and all the statistics are saying this is the direction buyers are headed and we are already one step ahead," Mr Sialepis said.

"Meriton saw the trend on its way years ago when we included childcare centres in many of our buildings and now with each new development we are incorporating even more family orientated facilities.

"I certainly think this is the path families will be taking in the future," he said.

Prices at Epping Park start at $590,000 for a two-bedroom apartment with parking and from $638,000 for a three-bedroom apartment with parking.

If you would like more information about Epping Park visit www.eppingparkmeriton.com.au



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