Sydneysiders looking to lifestyle apartments to reduce travel time
With Sydney home to the longest commute times of any Australian capital city, many residents are exploring alternative ways to shave the time spent travelling between home and work.
A growing number of buyers are trading the Australian dream of owning a freestanding home for apartments that enable them to live, work and play in the same location.
As mixed-use developments make inroads across Sydney, savvy buyers are using them as an opportunity to strike the ideal work/life balance and reduce their commute time.
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Master planned precincts such as Sydney Olympic Park and Green Square are two places that have been designed to offer everything in the same vicinity.
Mirvac residential general manager Toby Long said while living and working in the same place was not new, planning is required to make it effective.
“The great thing about Sydney Olympic Park is that its development has been guided by a masterplan in which jobs have been considered alongside housing, retail, education, leisure and transport, to create a living environment that supports people and communities,” he said.
The Sydney Olympic Park Masterplan envisions that by 2030, it will be home to 23,500 people and a substantial increase from the 230 businesses that currently operate there.
Buyer’s advocate Cate Bakos said buyers are finding the lifestyle that comes with living and working in the same area hard to resist.
“They are happy to give up a backyard to be closer to work and take advantage of a low-maintenance and convenient lifestyle that comes with this way of living,” she said.
Ms Bakos said the younger generation is finding this way of living more appealing and are leading the charge. “They not only treasure their time, but they don’t like the boringness of suburban life and want to live in a vibrant place,” she said.
“These areas enable them to live close to work, easily socialise with friends and have access to a string of amenities at their doorstep.”
While the young may be embracing a zero-commute lifestyle, Mirvac head of residential Stuart Penklis said there was also huge demand from families for apartments.
“It is a no-brainer for many families as today’s apartments often have the same internal space that you would find in a regular home, but come with a better lifestyle,” he said.
Besides a short commute, Mr Penklis said perks such as parks, communal facilities and shops on their doorsteps are winning buyers over with this new way of living.
“The idea of living in precincts is finally starting to get traction in Australia,” he said.
It is not just developments that are embracing this trend. The Greater Sydney Commission wants to make Sydney a 30-minute commute city, instead of the 37 minutes that is spent on average commuting each way at the moment.
To do this, they plan for Sydney to have three self-sufficient CBDs in the next 40 years. One will be located where the current CBD is, another in Parramatta and the third centred around Badgerys Creek airport.
McCrindle social researcher Geoff Brailey said a rethink of the way Sydney is operated will benefit more than those who live in mixed-use developments. “The GSA plan will see each region have facilities, jobs and amenities without needing to venture out,” he said.
“It will allow people to have more time for things they love, but people are already embracing this idea by living in vertical communities.”
While the plan is a few decades off, Mr Brailey said many Sydneysiders are realising alternative living means they cannot only live in a better location, but can achieve financial independence without sacrificing short commutes or a vibrant lifestyle.
Paul Stringleman and his wife Emiko are one couple who are set to save 10 hours a week by only having to commute across to the street from their new apartment at Sydney Olympic Park.
“If you’re doing a long day at work, the last thing you want to do is commute in traffic or travel in a packed train,” he said.
By reducing his travel time, Mr Stringleman said the move will enable him to spend more time with his family, while living a more balanced and healthy lifestyle in a safe and clean area.
“The idea of commuting from the suburbs to the CBD has run its course and this sort of apartment living is the future, so it is exciting to be buying now,” he said.
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