The jaunty, swooping lines of the Sydney Opera House and
Bridge are iconic shorthand for the city’s exuberant nature and
cosmopolitan but relaxed vibe. Add in a healthy dose of beach culture and
outdoors lifestyle and you have the winning combination that makes Sydney
consistently rank among the world’s most liveable cities, attracting people
from around the globe.
What is it known for?
Bold and brash, Sydney is Australia’s commercial and financial capital, as well
as its most populous city. Founded as a British penal colony in the 18th
Century – to the detriment of the region’s Aboriginal clans and tribes – Sydney
became a post-WWII destination for emigrants from Europe and Asia. Today,
almost one-third of the city’s population was born overseas and immigrants make
up three-quarters of its annual growth. They are attracted by the city’s opportunities,
but also its lifestyle, which is complemented by a blessed beachfront location.
“The great things about living here is the proximity to beaches, the great food
and restaurants and the amazing weather,” said Rob Maniaci, an American who has
lived in Sydney with his family for seven years.
Sydney’s multicultural heritage means the cuisine is rich and varied, enlivened
by many Asian and Mediterranean influences. On the eastern beaches of Bondi and
Bronte, surfers and swimmers ply the waves, and the city is home to some of the
country’s best teams for football, rugby, Australian rules football and
cricket. The city’s Central Business District (CBD) is home to the famous Opera House, and the annual Sydney
Film Festival and Sydney Festival, which celebrates arts, dance and music, are
held in venues across town.
Where do you want to
Inner city districts close to the CBD, such as residential Paddington and Surry
Hills, remain ever popular and expensive. Also in perpetual demand are affluent
parts of the Lower North Shore, such as Kirribilli and Hunter’s Hill, located
across the Harbour Bridge from the CBD, and the upscale eastern suburbs, including
Woollahra, Vauclause and Bondi. “Young professionals and couples are drawn to
coastal areas such as Bondi and Bronte,” said Shayne
Harris, head of residential at Savills Australia. "These are popular places to rent
given that prices often prohibit them from purchasing.” The gentrified Potts
Point and Elizabeth Bay areas,
located just east of the CBD, are also very desirable, as are inner west
suburbs including diverse Newtown and Marrickville. Areas just south of Surry
Hills, such as hip Redfern, are also attracting interest from first-time buyers,
as are surrounding neighbourhoods. “A number of developments in Waterloo,
Ultimo and Pyrmont have proved popular with younger buyers given their relative
affordability and proximity to the CBD,” explained Harris. Those seeking an
affordable family house look far out of town in areas like South Western Sydney,
Ropes Crossing and Kellyville.
Sydneysiders looking to get out of the city for a few days head to the towns, valleys
and cliffs of the Blue Mountains, a Unesco World Heritage Area just 50km west
of the city for hiking, platypus sightings or just chilling out with a great
view. The Hunter Valley wine region is another popular getaway about 100km
north of Sydney for its verdant landscapes and green vines stretching out
across the fields. “People also go to the Southern Highlands on short jaunts,” Maniaci said. This mountainous region is about 100km
southwest of the city.
Melbourne is a one-hour flight from
Sydney and Hobart in Tasmania is about two hours away, with frequent departures
from Sydney Airport. London is a
full 24 hours away, while Singapore is about eight hours and Bali about six and
a half hours.
There is renewed confidence in the housing market, and since the beginning of
2013 properties are selling above asking prices. “We are seeing the return of
competitive bidding, and properties below three million Australian dollars sell
quickly, if they are priced correctly and presented well,” Harris said. Western
Sydney is expected to be the top performing area in suburbs such as Auburn and
Mount Druitt. Government incentives are also in place to entice first-time home
buyers, who have been returning to the market in the first three months of
2013. “The upcoming general election [14 September 2013] may slow down the
market for a period as many people will be in a wait-and-see mode,” Harris
A typical two-bedroom flat or unit in an inner city
suburb costs anywhere from A$350,000 into the millions, while the median sales
price across Sydney is A$656,415. But high demand for housing has pushed up
rental prices across the city, with a two-bedroom flat in an inner suburb starting
at around A$400 a week. The average rental price in the CBD is A$590 a week.
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