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Survey Findings for Apartment Dwellers in Dublin

09.03.16

Open House Dublin 2015 and The Big Housing Debate: The Way We Build Now took the theme of housing, domesticity and This Place We Call Home, Dublin. Given the growth of apartment living in the Dublin city and county area in recent years, IAF commissioned Behaviour & Attitudes to conduct a research study amongst Dublin area apartment dwellers. An online survey was conducted amongst a sample of 436 apartment dwellers over the period 16 July to 3 August 2015 via Behaviour & Attitude’s Acumen Panel.

While the full survey available to download HERE, we have a summary of findings:

– The great majority of Dublin area apartment dwellers are in employment outside the home, with 6 in 10 living in an apartment with two or more income earners. A small majority of apartment dwellers (57%) are living as part of a married/cohabiting unit, with just under 3 in 10 of them having children.

– With regard to type of apartment accommodation, 3 in 10 of our respondents live in a one bedroom apartment, 55% in a two bedroom one, with the remaining 15% living in either a three bedroom apartment or duplex.

– A marginally higher proportion of male apartment dwellers live in one bedroom apartments (34%) compared to their female equivalents (where 27% of female apartment dwellers live in one bedroom units). Those resident in Co. Dublin (as opposed to North or South City Dublin) are significantly more likely to reside in larger three+ bedroom apartments or duplex units.

– Two-thirds of our Dublin area apartment dwellers indicate that they are currently renting privately from a landlord, with a further one-quarter of them either owning it outright, or buying it themselves on a mortgage. The remaining 1 in 10 apartment dwellers describe themselves as renting from the local authority.

– As would be expected, older, married, white collar worker/professionals living in South Dublin and Co. Dublin are more likely than the average apartment dweller to have purchased their own unit – a function of lifestage more than anything else.

– When asked what they particularly like about apartment dwelling on a spontaneous/unprompted basis, a whole range of specific aspects was mentioned. The most frequently cited positives here related to the spaciousness and open plan design of apartments, along with the convenience of their location, ease of maintenance and general safety/security.

– A range of other positives was also mentioned, from affordability, modern design and ease of heating, through to the availability of designated parking and the fact that there is no garden to tend!

– An analysis of aspects of apartment dwelling particularly liked by different types of apartment dwellers reveals some interesting dynamics. For example, those resident in one and two bedroom apartments are significantly more likely to praise the convenience of the location of their apartment. People who have bought their own apartment are significantly more likely to refer to how easy it is to maintain and clean. Those living in one bedroom units are more likely to refer to how affordable apartment living is, while the smaller the apartment, the safer and more secure it is perceived to be!

– While the survey respondents could identify many positive aspects of apartment living, they were also asked to record those features of the experience they particularly dislike. The main criticisms of apartment dwelling which emerged at this question included lack of space/storage space, noisy neighbours and a lack of garden or outdoor space.

– Again, differences emerge with regard to specific apartment dwelling dislikes, depending on respondent type. For example, the relatively small percentage of apartment dwellers living in duplexes tend to be a little more critical of the cost of rent and management fees, parking facilities, and even waste collection facilities.

– With a view to more fully understanding the drivers of satisfaction with apartment living today, respondents were asked to rate a series of apartment dwelling features in terms of how important they are to them personally. In response, aspects to do with the quality and size of living spaces, storage space, and an efficient waste collection service emerged as the top three most important for Dublin apartment dwellers. At the other end of the scale, these respondents were less exercised by the need for other residents or tenants they can socialise with, or indeed the existence of an active residents association.

– As with all questions administered for the survey, response patterns vary by type of apartment dweller. Having said that, the relative importance of specific aspects of apartment dwelling remains reasonably consistent across the board, regardless of the type of unit lived in, or indeed the demographic composition of those resident there.

– Aspects of apartment dwelling that these respondents were particularly pleased with included proximity to shopping, efficient waste collection and adequate parking facilities for themselves and other residents. Areas registering relatively low levels of satisfaction included the existence of an active residents association, other residents to socialise with, and secure bicycle storage.

– A cross-analysis of the importance of and satisfaction with specific aspects of apartment dwelling then allows us identify the core aspects driving the generally positive view of apartment dwelling on the one hand, and those areas that need to be improved upon through the eyes of the average apartment dweller in the future. Thus, features of importance, and with which apartment dwellers are very satisfied, include proximity to retail/shopping facilities, and efficient waste collection. Areas of importance which residents are unhappy with include adequate storage, an effective management company, and decent balcony/private open space.

– In overall terms, approximately 1 in 7 of all Dublin area apartment dwellers are extremely satisfied with their experience – allocating a rating of 9 or 10 on a 10 point satisfaction scale. Satisfaction tends to be higher amongst younger (under 34 years) residents, those from a white collar/professional background who own their own apartments, and those resident in South City developments.

– Those living in three bedroom apartments are the most satisfied with their experience of all, with duplex dwellers least happy with their lot.

– Encouragingly, almost half (48%) of those currently renting their apartment privately indicate that they are either planning to eventually purchase their own apartment, or to continue renting an apartment for the foreseeable future. 4 in 10 of these private renters are planning to eventually purchase their own house, with the balance uncertain at this stage as to what their future plans might be.

Full survey available to download HERE

Image: Bachelor’s Walk Apartment by A2Architects. Photo by Alice Clancy