More apartment buyers in Sydney’s lower north shore are seeking pet-friendly spaces after pandemic-induced puppy and kitten purchases, an urban living specialist has flagged. 

While buyer preference has shifted towards lifestyle locations and bigger space, apartments in the area are still seeing significant demand due to many aspiring homeowners now working from home and eager to take advantage of lower interest rates and surplus cash. 

However, this comes with one condition: the apartment has to be pet-friendly. 

Ray White Lower North Shore’s urban living specialist, Mary-Jane Hamer, has witnessed a “dramatic shift” in buyer expectations towards pet-friendly apartments across Sydney’s lower north shore, where pet ownership has risen significantly as a result of COVID lockdowns. 

“Buyers today have enduring demand for car spaces, sunlight and balconies, but most are seeking a pet-friendly building, of which there are few in our market,” Ms Hamer said. 

She explained that most of the demand is coming from local young professionals as well as returning expats. 

“The influx of returning expats has conflated the already strong demand for light and liveable lower north shore apartments. As Australia opens its door… migration will continue to drive demand for the luxury and lower north shore apartment market,” she said. 

“Local young professionals, who are now living and working in the same space 24 hours a day, are actively seeking to upgrade from simple one-bedders to more spacious two-bedders with ample light and an aesthetically pleasing background for those back-to-back Zoom and Teams meeting.” 

Further, more renters are aiming to purchase their own home with the funds they have saved due to the lack of overseas and interstate travel. 

“Two-bedroom, three-bedroom and house-sized apartments are selling strongly, but buyers are becoming more discerning when it comes to small spaces and anti-pet buildings,” she continued. 

Ms Hamer said that in today’s market, buildings with “strictly no pets” policies, or those that implement a less stringent “you can bring your elderly pet but if it dies you can’t replace it” rule, could easily lose half of their prospective buyers. 

While blanket bans on keeping pets still exist, particularly in company-titled buildings where strata legislation does not apply, an NSW court case has recently challenged the rule. 

A unanimous ruling in October determined that the ban should be lifted as the by-law against pet ownership was deemed oppressive because “it prohibits an ordinary incident of the ownership of real property, namely, keeping a pet animal, and provides no material benefit to other occupiers”. 

Limiting the property rights of lot owners can only be deemed lawful or valid “if it protects from adverse affection the use and enjoyment by other occupants of their own lots or the common property”, the court stated.