Buying an apartment may allow you to live where you want to live.

The pros and cons: Buying a detached house

The first thing to decide when buying a home is what kind of property will best fit your needs and wants – an apartment or a detached home. There are several things to consider here, from the size of your family, to the stage of your life, to your budget and your plans for the future. All of these factors (and countless others) will be the deciders when figuring out what's right for you.

With the aim of making buying your home just a little bit easier (that's what we do), let's have a quick look at the pros and cons of buying a detached home. 

Room to move

The first thing to consider when making the decision to move is how much room you need in your new property. Australian detached homes are some of the biggest in the world, averaging around 250 square metres, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

With this in mind, a fully detached house may be the best option for you if you're starting or raising a family.

The extra hundred square metres or so should mean that the kids all get their own rooms, have a yard to play in and that you can steal moments of peace and quiet to yourself. You could even get a family pet, a purchase that may be difficult to rationalise in smaller accommodations.

From now until December 2017, apartments and units in the capital cities will decrease in value.

Costs and capital gains

All the extra space in a detached home comes with a larger price tag. In fact, when median prices are aggregated over our five biggest cities, houses are over $200,000 more expensive than apartments, according to CoreLogic RP Data.

In Sydney and Melbourne, the disparity is even larger – house prices exceed that of apartments by roughly $360,000 and $330,000 respectively.

These figures reveal that if you are buying on a restricted budget, you may have to make compromises in order to find the right house. These could include moving further away from your ideal location or down-sizing slightly. 

On the flip-side, houses may return larger capital gains than other kinds of housing, making them more attractive investment properties. The 2016 NAB housing report, Winter Edition, has forecasted that from now until December 2017, apartments and units in the capital cities will decrease in value by an average of 1.9 per cent. Houses, on the other hand, will hold steady, increasing by 0.5 per cent during the same period.

As you can see, purchasing a detached home may be the smartest option for investors: costing you more in the short term but providing better security and capital gains in the long run.

Convenience and maintenance

Australians spend between 20 and 40 hours a week on household work.

On that note, the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted a survey revealing that Australians spend between 20 and 40 hours a week on household work, including cleaning and maintenance. If you own a detached house, you're far more likely to be closer to  the 40-hour mark, as you'll have to look after the lawns, maintain the exterior of the house as well as taking care of all of the plumbing and interior maintenance.

A separate ABS report shows that Australians spend between $1,348 and $2,797 per year on household maintenance, with those in apartments spending less and those in separate houses spending more. If you live in a detached home, be prepared to spend up to $3,000 on maintaining it, an amount that you'll have to include in your budgeting for mortgage repayments. 

It's important to remember that the amount of time and money you spend on your home can come with increased enjoyment. You'll most likely have a deck for barbecues, perhaps an extra room for visiting friends and family and the relaxation value of tending to a garden. As you can see, if you've got the time and the money to make the most of it, a detached home can be incredibly rewarding.

As a whole, detached houses offer more space and a more future-proof investment, but require time and money to maintain. If you're not on a tight budget, and have a little spare time you don't mind spending on tasks around the home, then a detached property may just be the right choice for you.

Seek a helping hand from a buyer's agent

The property market is in a state of change right now and it's hard to know which home is the right investment. On top of this, there are countless properties to choose from, most of which will not be right for you. Instead of spending days and weeks painstakingly searching for the perfect property in the haystack that is the Australian market, let us shoulder the load for you.

We're legally obliged to work in your interest and we've got extensive experience when it comes to finding people their dream homes, or the perfect investment.

up icon