I moved back to Australia from the UK with my new little family for the good life – the big house, the outdoor lifestyle, the weather, the slow weekends.
My idea of the Australian dream was a home – a free standing dwelling – near the sea. After all, I had lived in a house near the beach when I was a poor student.
But it has been a long time since then and I lived in a small country town on the north coast and the landlords were desperate to rent their place out.
So after nearly a decade of living abroad, I found myself homeless and queuing up for rental viewings with 20 other people in the inner city.
After three months of searching I moved into a lovely flat – it’s a modern high rise apartment overlooking the city and I have absolutely nothing to complain about.
My 18-month old son has always lived in flats, he doesn’t know any different. When he was learning to walk, our downstairs neighbours complained about the banging. I tried to stop him from falling over repeatedly, I really tried.
Now I have to stop him from going outside. I have bolt-locked the balcony doors – it’s a long way down. He’ll be allowed out one day. When I imagined coming back to Australia, I had expectations of an outdoor lifestyle, a backyard, a home with space on every side of it – like the one I grew up in, a house.
How do the majority live?
Of the 8.4 million households living in private dwellings 79 per cent live in separate houses, 11 per cent in flats, units or apartments, and 10 per cent are in semi-detached, row or terrace houses or townhouses, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The majority of Australians are in a house. In the city – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide – the numbers of those living in a house ranged from 61 per cent in Sydney to 84 per cent in Perth, according to the ABS.
It’s amazing that apartment living isn’t more popular given that the largest city in Australia has a new median price of $995,804, as reported in Domain.
My apartment block is full of new families – and a lot of designer dogs. I can hear my neighbour’s newborn crying during the night and every time I get in the lift there is a child – or a tiny dog.
Local mum, Claire, has lived in her flat for five years but says she has no long-term plans to stay.
“Everybody pretty much keeps to themselves,” she says. Well, there goes my theory that there will be a sense of community from living in an apartment block.
Claire says her son Thomas, 7 months old, will need more space as he gets older.
"Mealtimes are becoming fun for us but it would be nice to have a safe outdoor space to feed him and not worry about food going everywhere," she said.