I have both and it depends. I have a flat in a luxury building in Barcelona and it's awesome. It's at the beach, lots of people around, walking distance to W. Here, I have two houses because it makes no difference if you're down town or an hour away, social life is equally poor so you can replace that with a location that better suits your hobbies.
Depends on location. Like living in an apartment in urban enough area where I can walk to stuff. Apartment in the middle of nothing sucks. In New York, my apartment buildings were always quiet too - in CA you hear everything from neighbors because construction is shit.
Most people around the world who are living in cities, live quite happily in apartments. House is overrated and gives you a false sense of accomplishment.
In terms of privacy, they are almost similar. I have rarely seen people sitting in their large front porch. The backyard gives you some space, but the apartment complexes these days have quite large common areas, swimming pools, tennis courts for you to chill out!