Is the party finally over for Sydney’s skyrocketing real estate market? Much of the latest speculation suggests it might be, as property prices began tempering in the second half of last year after months of continuous strong growth.
CoreLogic RP Data reports that Sydney median dwelling prices went backwards by more than 2% in the quarter to 31 January, as Melbourne finally took the crown as the best-performing capital city for annual price growth.
But despite all this, the fact remains that even on a global scale, Sydney still seems an expensive city in which to buy real estate. Plenty of Sydney suburbs joined the “millionaire’s club” last year as their median house prices hit – and passed – $1m.
There are, however, still a handful of inner-city Sydney suburbs – those within 15kms of the CBD – with a median house price of around $1m or less. All can be found in Sydney’s south-west, and all are on or near the Bankstown T3 train line.
1. Sydenham – $927,500
Interestingly, the suburb with the lowest house median of the five profiled here is also one of those closest to the centre of town.
Sydenham lies about 7kms south-west of the CBD and is well-serviced by a major junction train station where three lines meet. It hasn’t enjoyed as much of a capital price boom that many of its neighbouring inner-west and south suburbs have seen, possibly due in part to its proximity to Sydney Airport and consequent air traffic noise.
And as with many older, historically working-class inner-city areas, many of its houses are smaller.
Nevertheless, Sydenham still saw median house price growth of 11.4% in the past 12 months, according to CoreLogic. It contains a smattering of shops and cafes – and is walking distance to many more in the neighbouring suburb Marrickville – as well as Sydenham Green and other open areas and reserves.
2. Roselands – $928,500
About 15kms south-west of the city centre is Roselands, where median house prices have gone up by more than 16% over the past 12 months.
Roselands is home to a well-known mid-sized shopping centre, as well as an aquatic centre and some shops and eateries on Canterbury Road and Chapel Street. Despite not having its own train station it is well-serviced by buses, and has easy access to the nearby M5 East Motorway.
3. Lakemba – $950,000
Just north of Roselands is Lakemba, which saw more than double the annual capital growth of its southern neighbour.
Featuring a train station, fire station and several primary and high schools, Lakemba is also home to several Asian and Lebanese restaurants and eateries, reflecting the ethnic diversity of its residents. Residential housing includes a mix of post-war brick apartment blocks along with many freestanding houses built in the latter half of last century.
Almost half of all Lakemba residents rent their home, according to ABS statistics, suggesting a tenant pool for prospective investors. Couples with children are the most common household structure.
4. Tempe – $1.006m
Just breaking the million-dollar median barrier is Sydenham’s southern neighbour, Tempe.
Despite having seen almost 21% annual capital growth, Tempe continues to be a more affordable entry point than many other nearby suburbs to Sydney’s inner-west property market – Marrickville’s median house price, for example, is more than $200,000 higher.
Tempe has little in the way of shops, cafes or restaurants, which may partly explain its relative affordability. It does, however, have its own train station, primary and high school, as well as a few green communal areas and golf driving range, and is separated from Sydney Airport by the Cooks River.
Unlike many Sydney suburbs, Tempe also has far more houses than units, many of which are freestanding.
5. St Peters – $1.010m
Also just beyond the $1m threshold is Sydenham’s northern neighbour, St Peters.
Only 6kms from the CBD, St Peters is the most “inner” suburb of the five profiled here. And as Tempe is noticeably less expensive to buy into than Marrickville, so too are houses in St Peters noticeably less than those in neighbouring Newtown and Erskineville.
A large chunk of St Peters remains industrial. But its proximity to the city, Newtown, Sydney Park and Marrickville Metro shopping centre, as well as having its own train station, may make it an appealing “budget” (comparatively speaking) option.
It’s worth noting, however, that its annual house capital growth of 8.6%, while far from unhealthy, is not on par with that seen in Newtown, Marrickville or Erskineville. And St Peters is also the site of a proposed controversial “spaghetti junction” traffic interchange that forms part of the WestConnex road project.
Where to next?