What you need to know about new apartment trends

As the latest Census results show, the strong shift towards apartment living in Australia continues, particularly in the major capital cities. A growing proportion of people are prioritising access to jobs and local amenity over the traditional Aussie dream of the big backyard.

apartment trends

Medium and higher density housing now makes up 26% of all Australian housing. In Sydney, this figure is even higher (42.1%).  Source: ABS

At the same time, architects are continuing to push the envelope in apartment design. Over the last 10 years, apartment design has changed dramatically – and decidedly for the better, according to one of Australia’s leading multi-residential architects, Callum Fraser, Director at Elenberg Fraser.

callum fraser apartment trends architect

Callum Fraser, Director, Elenberg Fraser

“Apartment buildings have become better for you than houses. They foster a richer community with a greater sense of belonging. They deliver this through active social groups and extensive facilities. Residents now have a plethora of unique spaces – karaoke rooms, private dining rooms, cellars, lounges, meditation areas etc – that deliver a more engaged and active life.

“They now help us live longer and better – they are the future,” said Mr Fraser.

With demand for apartment living increasing, it is important to understand how to select the right property, with the right features to cater to today’s tenants/owners, and tenants/owners of the future.

So, how do you spot an apartment of the future?

“New apartment buildings create lighter, brighter and infinitely more liveable spaces that are so much more appealing and alluring than previous “box” type living offered by apartments of previous decades,” said Ironfish Property Director, Grant Ryan.

“There are 3 major transformative design themes that best summarise why this dramatic shift has resulted in growing demand for liveable buildings with the “cool” factor.”

1. Stunning Glass Facades

Most of the best buildings feature less brick and concrete in favour of more glazing. This design choice greatly enhances the building both externally in terms of aesthetics, and internally in terms of light and liveability. Residents enjoy unobstructed views via a floor-to-ceiling window from inside their apartment and interesting glazed external surface finishes add further light and texture.

Melbourne-based Elenberg Fraser architects were early adopters of bringing glazing manufacturing technology – previously dedicated to commercial buildings – into the residential space. The firm’s expertise in this area is now being utilised to deliver nearly half of all the apartments under construction or nearing completion in Melbourne.

apartment trends Melbourne

Light House, designed by Elenberg Fraser architects, is a landmark building in the heart of Melbourne. Its innovative kaleidoscopic glass facade also helps to maximise natural light and ventilation, whilst carefully balancing privacy and views inside the apartment.

apartment trends

St Julien Residences, developed by ARIA Property Group, feature floor to ceiling glass.

2. Designer Facilities

Gone are the days where there was either no resident amenity or just a pool and a small gym. The trend of increased facilities is here to stay through unwavering demand from residents for more luxurious, social and useful spaces that are an extension of residents’ own apartments.

Private dining rooms and cinemas for residents to book and use for parties, libraries and reading zones, BBQ areas, garden breakout spaces and resort style pools are now giving fresh reasons for people to live in new apartment buildings.

The stunning wrap-around roof-top infinity pool at FV, Fortitude Valley

Gurner’s lavish FV apartment development or “urban resort” in Brisbane includes over 2,500sqm of communal spaces for residents, including a cinema, 4 pools, yoga studio and private dining areas.

3. A Grand Entrance

Leading developers and architects are now putting a lot of additional thought into the “arrival experience” of residents into a building. Lobbies are being designed to exude an enhanced sense of luxury, intimacy and community.

Buildings that feel like a 5-star hotel in terms of style while providing the comforts of a home are particularly in vogue, and will have sustainable long-term appeal to current and future owners.

apartment trends

The Melbourne Village apartment building lobby offers the experience of a high-end hotel at home, complete with concierge.

The lobby at Oxley & Stirling, located in South Brisbane, and other shared spaces within the building were designed by Elenberg Fraser architects to echo the glamour of days gone by.

However, according to Mr Ryan, it’s important to note that this trend is not consistent across all buildings, locations and developers, as some have embraced it more than others and quality varies extensively.

“My observations, having reviewed projects nationally over the past decade, are that these trends were born out of Melbourne’s edgier and more adventurous architectural environment. And in a social media world – and the fact that many local and overseas developers have been expanding into developing across multiple capital cities and states – the trends have naturally expanded and now feature prominently across the major capital city markets,” he said.

In the April 2017 JLL Brisbane Apartment market research report, it states:

“Projects with a point of difference such as superior ground floor retail, finishes or resident amenity continue to outperform the wider market.”

These are key aspects buyers need to take into consideration when making their purchasing decisions.

Ironfish takes pride in the strict selection process of properties which we choose to offer to our investors. If you would like further details on superior quality, on-trend apartment building designs in Australia or general property investment tips and trends, please contact your local Ironfish property investment strategist.

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