Starr Partners CEO Douglas Driscoll pinpoints the Sydney suburbs he thinks will be hotly anticipated in 2020.
1. Kensington. Just a stone’s throw away from the CBD and Centennial Park, and with the University of New South Wales on its doorstep, Kensington ticks all the boxes for buyers looking to live near the city and Sydney’s eastern beaches. The long-awaited light rail network, set to open this week, will see interest in the area grow exponentially. I believe it will also become a “gateway destination” — a new cruise ship terminal is flagged for Port Botany and, if this goes ahead, I expect the government to extend the light rail all the way from neighbouring Kingsford to La Perouse.
2. Crows Nest. Known by locals as “Crowie”, many Sydneysiders dream of living in a suburb with a village feel, and Crows Nest offers just that, with popular restaurants, trendy bars, a variety of eateries and a family-friendly atmosphere. Sydney’s lockout laws have also provided a boost to Crows Nest night life, which already had the makings of a good entertainment hub. The multimillion-dollar Woolworths refurbishment and the arrival of a rail line in 2024 are other major drawcards that have undoubtedly driven residential interest in the area, especially among young professionals, young families, downsizers and hipsters.
3. Oran Park. I recently forecast that the Sydney property market will soon witness the continued growth of three “exurbs” — and Oran Park will be one of them. Despite being a relatively new suburb, it has a fairly self-sufficient population with good infrastructure, low housing density and reasonable commute times to the city and is fast developing its own personality. Part of Sydney’s emerging Aerotropolis, and just a short distance from the $35 million Gregory Hills Health and Business Centre, transport links, and jobs, won’t be hard to come by.
4. Bellevue Hill. This classy pocket of Sydney will continue to skyrocket in value due to its appeal to families looking for a quieter eastern suburbs enclave that is just 10 minutes from Bondi Beach and even closer to the upscale boutiques and restaurants of Double Bay. With established blocks, leafy streets, a charming café strip and excellent access to employment, it is becoming — and will continue to become — increasingly gentrified. Better yet, the hilltop community also has a comparative absence of traffic — a welcome relief from other parts of Sydney’s east.
5. Busby. With a median house price of $557,500 — $250,000 cheaper than neighbouring Elizabeth Hills — and well within the cut-off for the government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, Busby is an excellent long-term investment for young professionals and families looking to get their foot on the property ladder. Close to the M5 motorway and with ample bus services and several schools, Busby has everything first home buyers need to make the area their home. Its proximity to Western Sydney University also makes it very attractive for investors.
6. Summer Hill. Once seen as an industrial node, Summer Hill, I believe, is the inner west’s new hidden gem. There’s soul and character, and everyone loves the charming village environment it has to offer — good schools, a cool café culture, a supermarket, fruit shop, butcher and restaurants all walking distance from the train station. At its heart is The Flour Mill, an old industrial pocket that is being transformed into an amazing new residential community with apartments, shops, cafés and parklands. Rarely do you get a suburb that is both so close to the city and synonymous with family living.
7. Merrylands. It shouldn’t be surprising that Merrylands has returned to my list this year, and I stand by what I said about it a couple of years ago: it has some of Sydney’s best value-for-money freestanding dwellings. The more the Cumberland Council spends on the Merrylands town centre, the better it will become. Should it go ahead, a $292 million master plan to redevelop Merrylands RSL will include more than 400 apartments and over three sleek, high-rise buildings, drawing European-style eateries and trendy alleyways to the area. It will only be a matter of time before the suburb emerges from the shadow of its neighbour, Parramatta.
8. Pagewood. Arguably one of Sydney’s most overlooked south-eastern suburbs, Pagewood, like we’ve seen with Mascot, Rosebery and sections of Botany, is about to undergo a major transformation. Pagewood Green, next to Westfield Eastgardens, and the former Holden manufacturing site are two previous industrial sites under development. With a median house price $220,000–$440,000, cheaper than nearby Matraville and Maroubra, Pagewood is a coveted area for buyers in the market for a unit.
9. Blaxland. Nestled at the foot of the Blue Mountains, Blaxland has a genuine country feel despite being just eight minutes from the M4 motorway, and less than 10 minutes from the larger neighbouring suburbs of Penrith and Emu Plains. While this area has become part of Sydney’s greater west, large family homes are available for well under $1 million and on large blocks with plenty of greenery. Young professionals or couples looking for a better quality of life and wanting to get more for their money should seriously be considering investing here.
10. Lalor Park. For buyers looking within a 20–30 kilometre radius of the CBD, Lalor Park, where the median house price is $611,000, is one of the most affordable. I see it really taking off among first home buyers. As the suburb has older homes, they can expect to get a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house on a decent block for about $600,000 to $650,000. Its great community feel is also a major catch, drawing crowds to its monthly Community Hub Markets and the Lalor Park Community Gardens hosting frequent picnics and other events.
By Doug Driscoll, Starr Partners CEO
Douglas Driscoll is CEO of Starr Partners, and was named Industry Thought Leader of the Year at the Real Estate Business Awards 2016. Originally from the UK, Douglas is widely regarded as one of the industry’s preeminent thought leaders, and is lauded for his dynamic and pioneering approach.