By the middle of this century, apartment-style living will likely comprise 50 per cent of all private dwellings and, in Sydney, medium- and high-density dwellings will outnumber stand-alone houses within seven years.
A research report by demography company McCrindle identified four emerging household types within Sydney’s apartment market and predicted that half of Sydney’s homes will be apartments within a generation.
Based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and a survey of 1,500 households, the 2017 Sydney Lifestyle Study identifies why the four household types – vertical families, cosmo couples, solo metropolites and one parent families – chose high-density living and where it is they prefer to live.
1. Vertical families
This group makes up 20 per cent of apartment households with 61 per cent renting. Their choice to live in an apartment was influenced by access to public transport (45 per cent), affordability (43 per cent) and safety and security (35 per cent). The top five suburbs for these vertical families are Parramatta, Bankstown, Westmead, Liverpool and Campsie.
2. Cosmo couples
This group makes up 27 per cent of apartment households with 52 per cent owner-occupiers. 47 per cent are likely to travel to work by train and 36 per cent by bus. Their choice to live in an apartment was influenced by access to public transport (59 per cent), affordability (51 per cent), and safety and security (31 per cent).
3. Solo metropolites
This group makes up 34 per cent of apartment households, with 63 per cent being renters. Thirty-seven per cent are likely to be aged between 53 and 71, with 23 per cent retired. Their choice to live in an apartment was influenced by access to public transport (47 per cent), low maintenance (42 per cent), and lower prices (35 per cent).
4. One-parent families
They make up 8 per cent of apartment households with 78 per cent renting. 49 per cent are likely to be aged between 38 and 52. Thirty-nine per cent of one-parent families work full-time and 24 per cent are casual. Their choice to live in an apartment was influenced by access to public transport (51 per cent), affordability (46 per cent), proximity to schools and child care (39 per cent).
The report challenges the idea that apartments are full of young, single people — our research shows that a growing number of families, old and young, are adopting urban lifestyles.McCrindle demographer Tim Edwards.
McCrindle found that if the current growth in apartment living observed over the past five years continues, by 2050 it is projected that apartment style living may comprise 50 per cent of all private dwellings – compared to 25 per cent detached homes and 25 per cent terrace housing.
"With 30 per cent of Sydney homes now being apartments the Urban Taskforce undertook detailed research to find out which household types are preferring apartment living," Urban Taskforce chief executive Chris Johnson said.
“We were amazed to find out that 20 per cent of the apartments are occupied by typical families and a further 8 per cent are occupied by one-parent families. They choose apartment living due to access to public transport, affordability, safety and security and access to schools and childcare.
“The research was stimulated by the growing concerns across Sydney about increased densities and the swing to apartment living. The concerns have been picked up by politicians who seem to have become nervous about apartment buildings generally.
The research indicates that families, couples without children, single people and one-parent families have welcomed the apartment life style with its access to amenities and public transport.
The research also indicates that Sydney's apartment dwellers are more likely to be politically progressive.
"Politicians must pay attention to the various demographic groups who live in apartments as they can have a different political preference from house dwellers," Johnson said.