When you purchase a property, it is essential to consider the costs. Not just the cost of buying the property, but also the maintenance required to keep it in good condition. The 2021 survey from Australian Apartment Advocacy, noted lock and leave lifestyle, low maintenance and affordability as the top motivations for residents and investors buying apartments. 66% of people buying into strata chose their property based on the fact that it required less maintenance. So how do the costs of strata maintenance actually stack up?
Despite the common misconception that strata properties (specifically, strata fees) cost you more in the long run, strata is a great option if you are looking to save some money on maintenance and repairs as strata properties require minimal upkeep, especially compared to older, freestanding homes.
As the majority of strata maintenance works are organised by your Strata Manager, you also aren’t burdened with the responsibility of organizing and paying for the maintenance yourself and can instead enjoy the peace of mind that everything is taken care of. Wall repairs, carpet maintenance, plumbing and reticulation are just some of the maintenance works necessary to maintain the quality of a property over the years. When you own a strata lot, all major strata maintenance and repairs (that comprise of Common Property) are covered by your strata fees.
But how does the costs of strata maintenance compare to freestanding property maintenance?
As a general rule-of-thumb, it is a reasonable expectation to spend between 0.40% to 0.75% p.a. of a freestanding property’s value on ongoing maintenance. With the median Australian house price being $1.066 million this equates maintenance costs to between $4,262 to $7,995. In comparison, strata fees can range $2,200 and $10,000 p.a. however these cover more than just maintenance!
In addition to paying for maintenance and repairs for the strata, your strata fees also cover cleaning, gardening, insurance, utility bills and special building maintenance. Many strata properties offer a range of fantastic amenities for owners, including pools, gyms, spas and saunas. It would be rather expensive to maintain these amenities on your own. Strata ownership allows you to enjoy these amenities without paying a large sum for them.
Strata fees may seem like a disadvantage compared with buying a strata-titled property. However, paying strata fees can save you money in the long run. You share the financial responsibility for paying for repairs and maintenance. You don’t have to pay for these works out of your own pocket but from the strata fees which are accumulated over time. This means your budget won’t be impacted by unexpected strata maintenance costs.
We recommend considering the positive impact strata can have when looking for a property to purchase – both to your lifestyle as a resident and to your bank balance. If you find a strata-titled property with strata fees that seem reasonable considering the amenities and common areas of the property, strata could be perfect for you.