Kathryn Lee - 22 Jun, 2020
While it may have a reputation for being expensive, there’s no denying that Sydney is one of the most vibrant cities in Australia to live. Not only is it home to some of the world’s most famous beaches and harbour, it’s bursting with culture and culinary delights. As a highly dispersed city stretching over 12,000 kms no two suburbs are Sydney 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.
With a great deal of variety in both landscape and property offerings, Sydney attracts a wide range of renters and buyers – from urban professionals and uni students to families and property investors. For this reason, there’s no one right answer to the question ‘what is the best suburb in Sydney?’ If you’re thinking of living or buying in Sydney, your desired area will depend largely on your needs, budget and preferences.
To help you figure out where you want to be, we’ve put together this guide to Sydney’s most popular suburbs. Whether you want to know the most liveable suburb in Sydney or the cheapest place to buy, we’ve got the lowdown.
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 difference to work or being surrounded by cafe and restaurants.
However, Domain recently published the findings of their Domain Liveable Sydney survey where suburbs were ranked on factors like access to amenities, open space, crime levels and tree cover and proximity to the coast and beach.
7 of the 10 top rankings were dominated by suburbs in Sydney’s Lower North shore, which are known for their harbour views, quiet neighbourhoods and proximity to the city. The suburb of Milson’s Point topped the list, closely followed by its neighbouring Lavender Bay. Also appearing in the list were the leafy suburb of Edgecliff (which is conveniently located between the CBD and Bondi Junction and the harbourside Eastern suburb of Darling Point.
Overall, Sydney is like most major cities – most places are safe enough during the day, but there are a few areas where you might choose to avoid walking alone at night. Some of the safest areas in Sydney include the City Center, City South (apart from George Street and Belmore Park, which can be dangerous at night), East Sydney, and Bondi, as well as the suburbs of Lavender Bay, Bankstown, Baulkham Hills, Hawkesbury, Holroyd, the Inner West, and the Northern Beaches.
Places in Sydney to avoid for safety reasons might include the Western suburbs of Campbelltown, Fairfield and Blacktown, as they have the highest crime rates.
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.
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)
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
According to a new joint study released by Aussie Home Loans and CoreLogic, the suburb of Treagar in the Blacktown city council in Western Sydney is the cheapest place to to buy a house in Sydney, with a 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.
With a median sale price of $7.7 million, the opulent Harbourside suburb of Darling Point tops the list as the most expensive place to live in Sydney. Offering unbeatable views of the Harbour Bridge, grandiose mansions and located just 4 km from the Sydney CBD, it’s not hard to see why.
Other areas in Sydney with lofty price tags include the Eastern suburbs of Bellevue Hill and Vaucluse.
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It probably comes as no surprise that Sydney isn’t the cheapest major city to live in Australia. According to data from Numbeo, that honour goes to the Tasmanian city of Hobart, with a cost of living index of 63.11 factoring in rent, groceries and cost of living. That’s compared to 73.65 in Sydney, which tops the list of the most expensive major city in Australia to live.
However, if you’re looking to live and buy in Sydney, the city has plenty going for it to make the higher price point worthwhile. From an excellent quality of life to strong investment opportunities, this bustling metropolis has no shortage of advantages.
Whether you’re looking to buy in Sydney’s most popular suburbs or venture a little off the beaten track, working with one of eChoice’s experienced brokers will help make the process as streamlined and simple as possible.
Words by Emma Norris