Architecture and Renovation, Real Estate Marketing

Greenery and gardens – and forget the hot-tub!

Brisbane’s apartment dwellers crave more green space, planter gardens and a shop downstairs for their late night snack, but couldn’t be bothered with their buildings’ spas and saunas. That’s the finding of our survey asking you to rank the importance of apartment building amenities.

Property developers cram all sorts of theatres, resident lounges and pool rooms into their projects, hopeful these will boost sales prices and make their building a sought-after address. But they’re some of the least desirable features you say you’re looking for in an inner city home.

As real estate salespeople we’re very aware of the growing scrutiny of body corp fees and it’s reflected in the survey. One survey comment: “People don’t live inner city only to socialise within their apartment building. Developers should focus on making the blocks a haven to come home to – with well appointed gardens/grass areas/water features (instead of a pool) rather than seldom used/often abused ‘social’ spaces. People are members of gyms – most these days have to have saunas, steam rooms etc to keep members – so why should owners have their BC levies going towards the upkeep of amenities that residents will rarely use or worse abuse and then BC has to sort the mess.”  Another respondent comments: “Most of the above can be found outside your apartment within walking distance by choosing the right location.”

So building designers would do well to open up the spaces around apartments to create larger gardens and private, grassed areas. Brisbane’s apartment dwellers want to feel the grass between their toes.

The idea of living above a cafe or restaurant also appeals and residents are more likely to chat to a neighbour over coffee than in the hot-tub! Survey respondents have no doubt seen the empty spaces at the bottom of some buildings where the developers’ desire to include a cafe in the design didn’t match good market research on its future viability. One comments that these don’t need to be huge restaurants: “A decent ‘hole in the wall’ cafe – which has free wifi and is a place to meet; grab a coffee on the run in the morning; sit and read a paper etc on the weekend – but is run independently (preferably by someone passionate about great coffee).”

Our survey was just a small sample but it’s an interesting insight into the mismatch between developers’ glossy-brochure visions, and the truly valued assets of a great inner-Brisbane home.