Your guide to Sydney’s most popular suburbs

Your guide to Sydney’s most popular suburbs

Emma Norris - 6 Jul, 2021

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Sydney is widely considered one of the most aspirational places to buy a home in Australia — and it’s not hard to see why. From some of the country’s most beautiful beaches to its famous harbour and superb dining scene, NSW’s capital truly has it all. While Sydney undoubtedly has the price tag to match, the good news is that there are still plenty of opportunities for first-home buyers and investors alike. You just need to know where to look!

There’s no hard and fast answer to the question ‘What is the best suburb in Sydney?’ As a highly dispersed city stretching over 12,000 kms, no two Sydney suburbs are exactly the same. For instance, the pristine beaches of the North Shore feel worlds away from the urban grit of Newtown or the buzz of the city. Venture a little further outside the CBD and you’ll even find little slices of quiet suburbia with affordable housing options.

If you’re thinking of living or buying a home in Sydney, your ideal suburb will depend on your individual needs, budget and preferences. But, to help point you in the right direction, we’ve put together this guide to Sydney’s most popular suburbs. Whether you want to know the safest and most liveable suburbs in Sydney or the best place to raise a family, we’ve got you covered.

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Which suburb in Sydney is best to live in?

Recent research published by PRD Sydney found that all four of the top  most liveable suburbs were middle ring suburbs in Sydney’s south and south west. These were Peakhurst, Jannali, Narwee and Caringbah. These areas were the  were the cheapest suburbs within 20km of the city that also feature plenty of amenities, infrastructure, green space and job opportunities on their doorstep.

This was an interesting shift from the results of 2019’s Domain Liveable Sydney survey, where 7 of the 10 top rankings were dominated by suburbs in Sydney’s Lower North shore. This points to a shift in priorities, indicating that perhaps Sydneysiders are now looking for wide, open spaces over picturesque views.

That said, the term ‘liveable’ means different things to different people. For some, it’s living a stone’s throw away from the beach and for others, it’s being in walking distance to work or being surrounded by cafe and restaurants. Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of the best up-and-coming suburbs in Sydney to live in.

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1. Croydon

Previously, this Inner West suburb has flown under the radar — perhaps to having less of a bustling nightlife scene as some of its neighbours. However, it’s tipped as one to watch on the property market, due to its family-friendly appeal and comparative affordability — with house prices generally being hundreds of thousands of dollars cheaper than nearby suburbs. It also happens to be closer to the CBD than some of its more expensive neighbours, being just quick 20 minute train ride from the city. All of these factors prime the Croydon area for excellent long-term growth.

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2. Artarmon

For those looking to buy near the CBD, Artarmon is an underrated gem that should be on your radar. Located just a 10 minute drive (or, 20 minute train ride) from the city, this Lower North suburb offers a perfect mix of convenience and liveability. It’s a quiet, leafy and green suburb with great facilities, such as a shopping village and plenty of cafes and restaurants. If you’re looking to go North but avoid the steep price tag, it’s a great, accessible option.

3. Summer Hill

Another great opportunity in the Inner West, Summer Hill offers unbeatable charm, character and community. While this postcode tends to offer smaller living spaces for the money, it more than makes up for in lifestyle. The Victorian-style terraces and well maintained gardens give this suburb a village feel, just a stones-throw away from the CBD.

4. Concord

If space is what you’re after, you’ll find no shortage of it in Concord. Located 10 kms West of the CBD, this suburb is known for its sprawling lot sizes. It’s a family-friendly residential area, with plenty of picturesque parks dotted along the Parramatta river. While rail connectivity has held Concord back in the past, new infrastructure projects happening in the area make it a suburb to watch in the future.

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5. Oatley

For those who want the laidback lifestyle of the Sutherland Shire but don’t want to venture too far from the CBD, Oatley is a more-than-decent compromise. Here, you’ll find a mix of modern homes and quaint, freestanding brick homes. With plenty of great schools, parks and green, open spaces, it’s an idyllic place to start a family.

6. Jannali

When it comes to value for money, you can’t beat Jannali. In this Southern enclave, you get much larger block sizes at similar prices than what you’d get 10 minutes closer to the city. While it still has great connectivity to the CBD, it also offers ample shops, cafes and bars to keep locals entertained. With new modern apartment blocks going up in the area, it’s set to become a popular place to buy in Sydney in the near future.

7. Hornsby

This Upper North Shore suburb earns a spot on this list due to being a strong all-rounder. It boasts a strong price-to-benefits ratio, with an affordable mix of properties available despite the growing popularity. Despite being located half an hour from the CBD, the large Westfield shopping centre, cafes and restaurants and plentiful parks make it like its own self-contained mini city.

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8. Dulwich Hill

Yet another ‘Hill’ suburb to earn a spot on this list! Nestled between Marrickville, Petersham and Ashfield, it’s one of the best places to experience all that Inner West has to offer. From the peaceful parks to the picturesque Art Deco homes, there’s no denying the charm of this area. That said, if you do want to venture into the city, the robust public transport network makes it quick and easy.

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9. Waverton

While you’d be forgiven that thinking in an area with harbour views is out of the question for regular folk, don’t discount the idea too quickly. Located in the lower North Shore, this harbourside suburb offers stunning vistas in a peaceful setting. While it is one of the more expensive entries on this list, there are plenty of older apartment buildings in the area that would be considered affordable for Sydney prices. And, with strong rental yields and an average compound growth of 6.7% per year, it may be worth opening your wallet for.

10. Bexley

At first glance, this Southern suburb appears fairly unassuming. It’s located in the heart of suburbia, with just one major shopping strip. But, make no mistake, this area is tipped for remarkable growth in the near future. Over the last five years, it has seen an average compound growth of 4.2% and shows no sign of slowing down. The large lot sizes and peaceful, community atmosphere make it an attractive place for families to settle.

What are the safest places in Sydney to live?

Like most major cities, the majority of Sydney is relatively safe during the day. In fact, in 2019, it was ranked 5th out of the top 10 safest to visit by the Economist  Intelligence Unit. That said, certain areas are considered safer than others. Middle Cove in the Lower North Shore has been ranked the safest place to live in Sydney, with a low crime rate of only 0.004 for 2020.

Second on the list is Kyle Bay, a welcoming Southern suburb  in the St. George area, which only has a crime score of 0.006. Interestingly, the third safest suburb is situated in Sydney’s Western suburbs — an area typically known for its comparatively high crime rate. While technically part of the wider Penrith area, Mount Vernon is a peaceful and spacious area with a modest crime rate of 0.009%.

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Where should I not live in Sydney?

Sydney overall is considered a safe place to live in, and there are no areas that should be considered completely off limits. For example, while Sydney’s Western suburbs once had a reputation for being dangerous, some suburbs in this region actually offer a great mix of safety, affordability and accessibility. However, if safety is your top priority (for example, if you live alone or have young children), there are certain suburbs you may want to avoid. Like most cities, the areas with the lowest socioeconomic also tend to have the highest crime rate.

Data from the NSW police force shows that the Western suburb of Blacktown has the highest crime rate in Sydney, particularly motor theft incidents. Sydney city takes the second spot on the list. In densely populated areas like Chippendale, The Rocks and Redfern, there is a high level of drug and alcohol-related crime. Interestingly, these areas are also quite gentrified, so they can be an expensive area to live in, too. Other areas with high crime rates include Penrith and Liverpool.

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What are the best places in Sydney to buy?

Sydney can be loosely split into the Eastern, Northern, Western and Southern suburbs and each of these have their own strong offerings when it comes to buying property. Here, we look at some of the best suburbs in Sydney to buy in each area.

The best suburbs in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs to buy

Often known as a smaller version of Bondi, the coastal suburb of Coogee offers the same beach lifestyle but with more space. While housing prices aren’t cheap, it’s considered a strong choice for families and couples alike due to the lifestyle and projected growth.

A few suburbs over is Maroubra, the largest suburb in the Randwick Council area. Another beachside suburb, it’s further away from the Sydney CBD (10 km) with less of a dining scene, but more affordable prices.

The South-East suburbs of Kingsford and Kensington are also popular to buy, due to their suburban feel, access to stellar amenities and easy connection to the CBD (especially with the recently completed light rail project)

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The best suburbs in the Northern suburbs to buy

The Northern suburbs consist of the business hub of North Sydney, the family-friendly Lower North Shore and the coastal and affluent Upper North Shore.

Not only does the Lower North Shore boast some of the most liveable suburbs in Sydney, it’s also known as a great place to buy. The Harbourside suburbs of Neutral Bay and Cammeray are some of the more popular suburbs to buy in Sydney, thanks to their spacious properties, leafy and quiet neighbourhoods and proximity to the CBD.

On the other hand, North Sydney tends to have more urban apartments, while Upper North Shore can be inaccessible for many buyers.

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The best suburbs in the Western suburbs to buy

Sydney’s inner-West suburbs hold a lot of potential for homeowners and property investors alike. However, the trendier suburbs of Newtown and Glebe tend to be attract higher price tags and offer less space. Go a little off the beaten track to suburbs like Dulwich Hill, Ashfield and Summer Hill and you’ll find the same charm with bigger houses and lower prices.

If you’re willing to be a bit further away from the city, the Western suburbs offer some of Sydney’s best value for buyers. Parramatta is known as the area’s vibrant hub, offering an almost ‘mini-city’ feel. It has a large Westfield shopping centre, a large array of multicultural dining options, great infrastructure and major transport infrastructure. Lalor Park, Baulkham Hill and Lidcombe are other strong options.

The best suburbs in the Southern suburbs to buy

Stretching from the Sydney CBD to the Sutherland Shire, the Southern suburbs have become an increasingly popular option to buy – especially for families. Kogarah in the St.George area is considered one of the best suburbs of buy in terms of value, due to its lively shopping area and access to a Kogarah railway centre. Further North, you have Bexley, which is known for its strong mix of residential, commercial and light industrial developments.

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What are the best suburbs in Sydney for families?

Sydney is a family-friendly city, with great schools, access to fun weekend activities and a relatively low crime rate. But, where is the best place in Sydney for families to live? As always, this depends on what your priorities are and every region has its pros and cons.

In Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, areas like Randwick, Clovelly, Coogee, Queen’s Park and Woolhara are popular with families and it’s not hard to see why. Not only do you have world-class beaches on your doorstep, but they’re some of the safest suburbs in Sydney and have access to great parks, playgrounds and schools. There are larger houses available in these areas as well as apartments, however these aren’t in everyone’s price range. To give you an idea of cost in the area, the median price of a house in Randwick is $2.4 million and $915,000 for a unit.

The further you venture from the beaches and harbour, the more affordable property prices become. While the inner-West may not offer the sun, surf and sand of the East, it still has a lot to offer families. Not only do these suburbs have a strong community feel, but there’s access to plenty of green spaces.

Suburbs in the inner-West that are particularly popular with families include Camperdown, Glebe, Rozelle, Leichhardt, Dulwich Hill and Balmain. For an idea of property prices here, the median house price in Camperdown is $1.3 million, while a unit is priced at $750,000.

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If you are on the lookout for a large house with a yard for the kids to play in, the Western suburbs is the place to be. Many of the more developed suburbs here are self-contained enough to have everything you need – shopping centres, schools, weekend activities, dining options – without ever having to go into the CBD. Rooty Hill and Parramatta are known as some of the West’s most family-friendly suburbs.

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With its wide open spaces and affordable properties, Sydney’s South and Southwest has also become popular with families. In fact, nearly 80% of all homes in this area are classed as ‘family household with children’. In suburbs like Liverpool and Kingsgrove, a four-bedroom home with a backyard will set you back around $1 million.

What are the best suburbs in Sydney to rent?

A new wave of housing supply and a decline in rental prices has opened up great opportunities for tenants all around Sydney. Some of the best places to rent in Sydney based on median price and number of vacancies and dwelling include the Northern suburbs of Ryde and Chatswood. Median weekly rents for houses in Chatswood dropped 3.1% to $950 over the year to September, while Ryde fell 5.8% to $650. The Western suburbs of Liverpool, Parramatta and Blacktown are also considered great places to rent due to their affordability, for both houses and units.

What is the fastest growing suburb in Sydney?

Sydney as a whole is a city that is undergoing a lot of growth, in terms of both population and property prices. However, some of Sydney’s suburbs that are tipped for major growth in 2020 include Green Square, thanks to its major urban renewal project and 10-minute commute from the CBD, Badgery Creek (which is set to become the location of the Western Sydney airport by 2026) and Kensington in the Eastern suburbs.

Which is the cheapest suburb in Sydney?

‘Cheap’ and ‘Sydney’ are two words that typically don’t go together — especially if you’re buying a home. However, if you’re willing to venture a little beyond the CBD, you can still find some affordable gems.

According to data released by Aussie Home Loans and CoreLogic, the suburb of Treagar in the Blacktown city council in the Western Sydney is the cheapest place to to buy a house in Sydney. Here, you’ll find median price of $437,734.

In fact, the majority of Sydney’s most affordable suburbs are located in the Blacktown city council region in the the outer western suburbs. These are are the only areas in Sydney where you can find median house prices coming in under $500,000. Other affordable suburbs for buying houses include Shalvey, Warragamba, Emerton and Dharruk. For buying an apartment, the cheapest median prices are found in Carramar, Ambarvale, Leumeah, Minto and Fairfield.

The cheapest suburb to buy a property within 10 kilometres of Sydney’s CBD was Arncliffe, where the median house price was $1.23 million.  It was also one of the top five cheapest suburbs to buy apartments with the median unit price of $670,000.

What is the richest suburb in Sydney?

While many suburbs in Sydney are steadily rising in price, there is one suburb in Sydney that retains the title of the most expensive, year after year. Located in the Eastern suburbs, the picturesque suburb of Darling Point has an astronomical median price tag of $7.7 million. Located just 4 km from the Sydney CBD, the mansions in this area typically boast views of both the city skyline and harbour.

The second most affluent suburb in Sydney is the nearby area of Bellevue Hill. With an eye-watering median housing price of $6.6 million, this area is known for its sprawling homes, manicured gardens and prestigious schools. This is closely followed by the neighbouring suburb of Vaucluse, which is home to many of Sydney’s celebrity residents. Here, a home will set you back an average of $5.84 million.

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How much does a house cost in Sydney?

There is huge variation in Sydney’s housing prices, ranging from $500,000 on the lower end to well over the six million mark. However, the current median house price reached a record high of $1.3 million in Sydney in 2021. This growth was largely driven by houses at the upper end of the market — with the median house price in the Eastern suburbs rising by a massive 14.5 per cent over the last quarter to $3,147,500.

No matter where you’re looking to buy in Sydney, the property market is notoriously competitive. Working with one of eChoice’s experienced brokers will help make the process as streamlined and simple as possible and help put you on the path to success.

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Words by Emma Norris

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