Apartment@central vs House@suburb?

There are still much stereotypes arising with living in an apartment. For many of my friends, the notion of living in an apartment is far from compelling. When asked why, there are a few reasons. Here, I’d like to rebuff those stereotypes based on my experience living in an apartment.

Many of my friends thinks it’s better to commute for hours and live in landed house, instead of living closer to work but in an apartment. They choose to live in the suburb and spend 3-4 hours every day just commuting. That will translate into transportation cost, and also the lost time and energy on the road. When my husband I moved back to Jakarta, we totally dreaded the traffic, which makes us decide to bite the bullet and live in an apartment close to his workplace. With 3-4 hours commuting every day, other impacts of commuting should be considered, for example the pollution and health impact etc. Being able to leave home at 7.30 and coming back at 17.30, hence spending more time with our two kids, is priceless. Besides, reducing commuting time, taking public transport, or carpooling can help reduce pollution. This can be achieved by living close to the workplace, and in Jakarta, not many options besides living in an apartment.

Moreover, living in a mature area with enough population density, such as central Jakarta, means easy access to amenities. The kids’ preschool is only 800 meters away. Three hospitals are half a mile away. Bank is right across the apartment blocks, while post office is a bit further. There are 2 cinemas within 1km radius. Language courses and cultural centers are within 1.5km range. Everything is basically within walking distance.

Many people think a home is a house with a garden, and an apartment is not suitable with Indonesian culture of having a home with a garden. At the end, more expenses are incurred to tend the garden, hiring gardeners and security guards 24/7 just for the house. With outrageous land price in central Jakarta, having a home with a garden is impossible, and the only option is an apartment. Gardeners and guards are included in the apartments’ monthly maintenance fee. Besides, apartments bring environmental benefits such as a more compact infrastructure services, shared amenities, and smaller building footprint area relative to the population number.

Many people think that an apartment is not an ideal place to raise a child, because it is restraining the child and not spacious enough. Moreover, a few people even think that apartment is harmful for the mental health of the residents! Well, many children in Singapore, Hongkong and Tokyo are raised in apartments and they turned out to be normal kids. Besides, most apartments have playgrounds and shared open space for kids.

Many people also think that buying an apartment is not a good decision, because the capital gain is not as significant as buying a landed house. I don’t know about that, and I think it varies on case by case basis. For me, I look at the apartment as a place to live first, and as investment second. Hence, location and convenience is very important because they are being dealt with every day.

In sum, an apartment can be considered as a serious option in a more affordable range than landed houses for people yearning to live closer to their workplace in central Jakarta.

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