For young professionals and downsizers weighing up their house hunting options, there is one long-standing debate to be had – choosing between a house or an apartment.
Whether you’re looking to purchase your first property, downsize or even buy a second home, the benefits and drawbacks of apartment living versus a traditional house are one of the many considerations in your property search.
The experts at FHP Living, and joint developers Monk Estates and Harmony Bridge of The Waterside Apartments – a 121-home iconic waterfront complex on the banks of the River Trent - outline aspects to consider when choosing between buying an apartment or a house, to give prospective buyers a clear idea of the pros and cons of both.
Sam Monk, director at Monk Estates, said: “From maintenance, to the costs associated with buying an apartment or a house, to what amenities and benefits you can expect to get with each, we have compiled this list of points to consider between purchasing a house or an apartment, so that homebuyers can choose what’s right for them.”
Director at FHP Living and selling agent for The Waterside Apartments, Steve Parker, said: “As a leading estate agent in Nottingham, we are proud to be marketing a number of high-quality residential homes, including The Waterside Apartments – and we work with buyers across the spectrum and are involved in informing their decisions, when comes to choosing between houses and apartments.
“Choosing between the two types of properties is a common dilemma that homebuyers face, and there are multiple benefits to both. Depending on your budget, each come with their own attributes and features that the other doesn’t, so it really comes down to preferences and lifestyle, and we have shared our intel on benefits and drawbacks to both.”
Here’s what to consider when choosing between an apartment and a house:
When it comes to easy maintenance, apartments take the crown for convenience and reliability.
Living in an apartment building means that major maintenance issues can be taken care of by the building’s own team – as things like the water and electrical supplies will be centrally housed within the building and therefore maintained by staff members.
You will also pay service charges and ground rent which will contribute towards garden and communal area maintenance, the running costs of any amenities located within the building, plus the cost of security, elevator maintenance, and any employees who look after the entrance and reception areas of the building.
Although it is an extra cost to take into consideration, this does allow you the luxury of living within a building that is well-maintained, without any additional work needed from you.
Living in a house means you are responsible for all of the upkeep and repair costs, including any outside space that requires regular maintenance.
Many apartment buildings located in or close to a city will give you plenty of access to some great amenities, both within the building itself and nearby.
This can include a shared terrace space, roof garden, planted outdoor areas, cycle storage and even a gym or spa. On top of the recreational amenities, apartments will also provide you with additional security in the form of CCTV, a security guard, coded doorways or gated entrances.
Houses come with their own stack of fantastic features too – from your own private garden and driveway to additional space in the attic or basement and a garage or garden shed for extra storage.
It’s a common belief that an apartment is often less expensive to purchase than a house, but this depends on many different aspects – such as the location, size and number of bedrooms in the properties you’re looking at.
When making the choice between an apartment or a house, it’s a good idea to have a budget in mind and compare what you can get for your money.
For example, for a price tag of just under £300,000, a two-bedroom apartment at The Waterside Apartments located on the banks of the River Trent in Nottingham, will give you open-plan living space, a high quality fitted kitchen and bathroom and stunning views across the water. All within a building that offers a bespoke concierge and hotel-style lobby, communal areas, gated parking spaces and resident-only access to the riverfront.
For a similar price, a two-bedroom period terraced house might be your preference – offering a generous rear garden, modern kitchen and four-piece family bathroom, all set within a quiet, leafy street, just a short walk from the centre of the highly sought-after West Bridgford location.
Differences in lifestyle
Whether you’re a working professional, a young couple or someone looking to downsize, choosing between an apartment and a house can often boil down to the type of lifestyle you have, or wish to have, which will help to inform your decision.
Typically, modern apartment buildings offer a great sense of community – and shared spaces provide a social vibe, which can maximise positive mental health and wellbeing benefits, as does the increased safety of living in a multi-property dwelling with its own security.
On the other hand, living in a house usually provides you with scope to make improvements to the layout, décor and space available – you can continually chip away at upgrading your home or make a significant change such as an extension, conservatory or converting the attic – unlocking space and transforming how you live in your home.
Whether you pine for a quiet life in a leafy cul de sac, or enjoy the energy and modern characteristics of a vibrant apartment building close to the city, consider what activities you enjoy, how much of the local amenities you would like to frequent and how much space you need, in order to inform your choice between an apartment or a house.
Short-term vs long-term
Though not set in stone, it is often the case that apartment living is seen as a short-term plan, rather than a long-term one.
As the layout and room available within an apartment typically limits the amount and types of alterations you can make, you might find that you outgrow your home over time as your life circumstances change.
Starting a family, changing careers or finding a home to settle down in ready for retirement are all factors that will influence the type of home you’re looking for, so it’s important to consider whether an apartment will meet your needs in the long run.
An apartment will usually come with a leasehold agreement – meaning you own the apartment but not the land it sits on. When choosing an apartment, take care to check how many years are left on the leasehold, as this can affect the future value of the property.
A house provides more potential to alter and evolve over the years, and will usually continue to increase in value if well-maintained and improved over time. It will typically come with a freehold agreement, so you own both the property and the land that comes with it.