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Apartment building vs townhouse living - what's right for you?

A guide for Australian home buyers.

While the dream of a backyard BBQ and game of cricket may still be alive for Australian home buyers, for many, the affordability and convenience of more compact homes like townhouses and apartments is increasingly coming up trumps. But sometimes, it can be tricky to navigate the two and decide whether an apartment building or townhouse living is more your style.

Here we’ll walk you through the great townhouse vs apartment debate for your next property move. We’ll cover:


What are the key differences between the two? 

With fewer of us willing to dedicate our spare time to maintaining yards or gardens, the appeal of both apartments and townhouses has soared. And while both property types mean less maintenance and greater affordability for homeowners, there are some key differences between the two:


Featuring more space indoors and out, townhouses are a winner for those looking for a little more room to house a small family and the occasional guest. You’ll have a private entry and your own courtyard or small garden, so those summer BBQs are still achievable.


Typically set in secure complexes, apartments are often an affordable first step on the property ladder, a great ‘lock-up-and-leave’ option for downsizers, or an affordable foray into property investment. They generally come with a smaller floor plan and outdoor spaces may have a private balcony or shared courtyards. You also have a body corporate to take care of shared maintenance.

Location and community considerations

Apartments and townhouses pop up in all sorts of locations that suit different lifestyles and budgets. The two main communities to consider for new build townhouses and apartments are:

Urban renewal developments – located in the heart of existing neighbourhoods, these smaller developments provide access to new homes that utilise established infrastructure, amenities, and communities. While apartment complexes are common in these areas, often attractive townhouse options pop up in established neighbourhoods too. Learn more about townhouse and apartment living in Cedar Woods communities here.
Residential land communities – also known as greenfield residential communities, these are new neighbourhoods that are meticulously planned and purpose-built from the ground up. Usually located in up and coming areas, residential land communities are more than just housing – they’ll usually include recreational areas and all the services and amenities you’ll need within close proximity.
  Apartments Townhouses
Room for kids and pets to roam  
Rental potential
Low maintenance
Well suited to family life  
Located in a secure complex  
Own private entry  
Room to house a BBQ
Like-minded neighbours nearby

Spare time won’t be dedicated to the upkeep of your home



Are apartments a good investment?

Securing a patch of land with a freestanding home is no longer the only wise way to invest in property. As population growth soars – as do smaller households – apartment living is becoming increasingly common in Australia and an increasingly solid investment. Here’s why:


  1. Affordability – you might be able to secure an inner-city location, and you might even be able to purchase more than one! It can also be a fantastic first step on the property ladder for first home buyers and investors alike.
  2. Rental ready – newly built apartments appeal to renters and typically meet minimum rental standards (unlike some established properties).
  3. Minimal maintenance – body corporate will take care of exterior maintenance, and if it’s a new build, you’ll also benefit from the warranties in place.
  4. Fewer security issues – often with CCTV and keypad entry points, your investment is physically secure.
  5. Less outlay – when purchasing off the plan you’ll pay just a developer deposit (typically around 10%) for newly built apartments, with the balance payable on completion. This means you won’t be out of pocket before it’s ready to rent or you’re ready to move in.

When it comes to investing in townhouses, they generally come with a higher price tag. But as there is more space, it stands that they should receive a higher rental income. With any investment property purchase it pays to have a good handle on your numbers - understand what equity you can leverage, what you can borrow and the yield you expect the property to return. Check out our How to finance a new build page for more information on this.

Downsizing your home - how small can you go? 

Downsizing can be challenging for anyone, particularly if you’re an empty-nester chasing the convenience of a lock-up-and-leave lifestyle after years of gathering ‘stuff’. There’s furniture, old mementos, stuff the kids have left behind and sometimes even a shed worth of tools to sort through.

‘How small you can go’ is both an emotional and practical consideration. The jump from a large family home to compact apartment living can be eased by the broad range of properties available in between.

If it’s impossible to imagine life without a garden, then a townhouse could be an ideal solution.

With some dedicated prioritising and decluttering, it’s possible to adjust your must-have possessions into a smaller footprint and not miss a thing from your previous home.. In fact, many people feel a sense of freedom as soon as the clutter is removed from their day-to-day life. Buying a new apartment off the plan? Find out what you need to know here.

“In Cedar Woods communities we typically offer many lot sizes that cater to different property types and floor plans to suit different buyers’ needs.”

JG_Huntington Apartments_Living Kitchen Dining

Tips for living in an apartment

If you’re living in a larger home, transitioning to apartment living can take some adjustment. There are not only small space factors to consider, but things like proximity to neighbours, the logistics of pets and apartments, and etiquette around shared areas to take into account. Get prepped with these 5 tips for adjusting to apartment living:

  1. Meet your neighbours –Start on the right foot and introduce yourself to your neighbours as soon as you move in. It’ll make it much easier if any issues pop up or you need someone to water your plants when you’re away.
  2. Think about pets – is Fido or Felix joining you in the move? If your apartment building is pet friendly, you’ll need to adopt a regular exercise and toileting routine for dogs and ensure they have plenty to keep them entertained as they adapt. Cats enjoy climbing, so utilise vertical space for climbing towers and lookout perches – just ensure all windows are fitted with security latches.
  3. Consider logistics – unless you’re hiring a crane for move-in day, remember everything needs to enter your apartment via the regular elevator (or sometimes a service lift). Make sure you’ve got the maximum measurements down-pat and dismantle any furniture that needs it. Flatpack furniture is your new bestie.
  4. Choose décor to suit – while your apartment might not be abundant in the square metre department, it’s possible to create a bright and airy space with the right décor. Things like mirrors paired with a light, simple colour palette create the illusion of space.

Choosing the right developer

Not all apartments and townhouses are created equal, which is why working with a developer with a proven track record for building quality, desirable housing, and vibrant communities is crucial. 

By partnering with Cedar Woods, you’ll benefit from all the knowledge and assurances that come along with over 30 years of experience. And with a diverse range of housing solutions across a broad range of budgets under their belt, you can make your next move into an apartment or townhouse with confidence.

Find your perfect match

Find your perfect match

If you're thinking about buying in a Cedar Woods community, but are still deciding on what type of property will best suit your lifestyle, then look no further. We've created two handy guides that cover the ins and outs of house and land packages, townhouses and apartments.