In the property-obsessed city of Sydney, an underrated suburb is like the Holy Grail and is almost as challenging to find.
We spoke to market experts to reveal which pockets buyers are overlooking.
“Just one road separates them, but the prices differ significantly,” Mr McKay said. “The blocks actually don’t change [but] because it’s called ‘north’ … the prices are probably about 30 per cent less.”
A 1000-square-metre block typically sells for about $1.6 million to $1.7 million in North Turramurra, but head south and that increases to $2 million, he explained.
Mr McKay put the price disparity down to proximity to the train station: “If people want to walk to the station, they’re going to be paying a huge premium.”
On the northern beaches, George Bachtis of McGrath Dee Why suggested that buyers look further back from the coast.
“Wheeler Heights doesn’t get much glory,” he said of the suburb tucked behind Collaroy Plateau. He described it as a peaceful pocket dotted with houses.
“You still get the convenience of the local shops at Collaroy Plateau and … a choice of different beaches,” Mr Bachtis said. “You’re not too far inland, and it’s a bit more affordable.”
Mr Bachtis said the suburb sees only a small number of transactions each year, so buyers will need to keep an eye out for listings.
Wheeler Heights attracts families from the eastern suburbs, lured by comparatively lower prices and by the buses to the city.
“For houses generally you won’t find anything under $1.25 million,” Mr Bachtis said.
He also pointed to Eleanora Heights, where buyers can find larger blocks and a broader selection of properties, with Warriewood shopping centre close by.
Lucas Pratt of Pulse Property Agents said Bonnet Bay flew under the radar for many, although interest from out of area buyers had increased.
Perched beside Woronora River, Bonnet Bay has a small number of shops and several waterside reserves.
“There are only a limited number of properties that turn over, but the value is very good,” Mr Pratt said. He noted that prices were higher in Jannali, which is not a waterfront suburb but is on a train line to the CBD.
Most houses were built in the 1970s and ’80s in brick. Mr Pratt said buyers are starting to see value in these dwellings compared to fibro properties in Oyster Bay.
Mr Pratt said houses could sell for less than $1 million, and quality residences with views typically sold for about $1.1 million.
Previously unknown suburbs, like Kareela and Como, are now being pounced on, Mr Pratt said.
Lauren Goudy, a buyers agent at Rose & Jones, said some of the best value lay in the inner west. She pointed to Ashfield as a prime example, pairing lower prices with a shopping precinct and a train station.
“It’s about having all those amenities accessible and being able to get to places where [people] … might not be able to buy,” she said.
The peninsula suburb has had less exposure than Abbotsford, which is closer to the city via car, and Drummoyne, which has deeper waterfronts.
Serviced by ferries, Cabarita is close to coveted schools like Rosebank College in Five Dock and Trinity Grammar in Strathfield.
According to Mr Chidiac, standard bungalows sell for about $2 million.
He also suggested parts of Mortlake were underrated. “When most people think Mortlake, they think apartments, [not] realising that there are houses,” he said.
He said homes tend to sell for between $700,000 and $750,000, which can rise by $200,000 or sometimes $300,000 in Parramatta.
The majority of transactions are with first-home buyers, as well as locals looking to upgrade from a unit. It is largely owner-occupied.
Buyers who are set on living in well-known lifestyle suburbs should consider how much they can save by purchasing nearby, according to buyers agent Nick Viner of Buyer’s Domain.
He cited Darlington as an alternative to Redfern, and in Sydney’s north, Lane Cove West as an alternative to Lane Cove.
In particular, he said Darlington’s proximity to the University of Sydney made it an investment sweet spot.
Ms Goudy said it was difficult to pinpoint an undiscovered pocket in the east, particularly with a first-home buyer’s budget. She did, however, recommend suburbs near infrastructure.
“When you look at some of the outer suburbs … the infrastructure is not there, so that will limit the capital growth,” she said. “You’ve always got to consider the exit plan.”
Brooke Marshall of Belle Property Kingsford said savvy buyers should keep an eye on Matraville. “It’s obviously not beachside, but it’s not far, so you’re getting the benefit of what those beachside suburbs offer,” she said.
Entry-level, free-standing properties in Matraville exchange for about $1.3 million, Ms Marshall said, which jumps to the high $1 millions in Maroubra.
She said the suburb represented better value than two years ago, with prices dropping considerably during Sydney’s market correction. Now, buyers with the budget for a semi in Maroubra can pick up a free-standing home in Matraville for about the same price, Ms Marshall said.
The suburb mainly attracts families, some of whom are upsizing from apartments in Coogee, Randwick and Bondi.
Compared to suburbs further north, Malabar’s prices are modest. Mr Hotait said entry-level, original homes away from the water are priced around $1.5 million to $1.6 million. In South Coogee, buyers are more likely to pay about $2.5 million.
“People tend to think it’s a little bit far out and draw the line in Maroubra, but when we take people there they fall in love,” Mr Hotait said.
Keep up with Commercial Real Estate news.
Keep up with Commercial Real Estate news.