My husband and I grew up in apartments. We hated it. There is a significant lack of freedom and privacy that comes with apartment living. We hated that we could never paint our rooms, that our neighbors were noisy, etc. And before we bought our house we found that living in such close proximity to other people was incredibly difficult. It seemed like no matter where we were, our neighbors were smokers, did not have children and therefore partied, etc. It was a huge hassle and we were not at all happy.we were lucky enough to get a 4 bedroom house on an acre of land that we can afford on one income. Our kids have a back and front yard to play in whenever they want, and we're far enough away from our neighbors that their parties/barbecues don't bother us. But we're close enough that we know them and our friends can have play dates. We also have a big garden going and will be getting a pool.Your son may not care about having a back yard because he's an only child. Playing by himself is different, and he would probably feel very different if he had siblings. As it is for you, if you're lucky enough to get good neighbors, your son might enjoy the more adult setting. But, I have to say, it is a hassle to have to go to a park in order to let a child run and play. Just being able to let them out in the back yard is much easier for everyone. Of course, the choice is yours. But there is no way I would ever choose an apartment or townhouse over a real house as long as I could afford it.