Part one: The top 20 suburbs for first-home buyers in NSW this spring
First-home buyers have a rare window of opportunity to snap up properties in more favourable purchasing conditions this spring — if they know where to look.
Recent interest rates cuts and more relaxed lending policies from banks have brought a range of once out of reach suburbs back into the budgets of many first-timers.
First-home buyers also face less competition for properties within their intended price range because banks are still restricting loans to investors.
Many first-home buyers appear to have picked up on the improved environment.
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A recent St George study showed almost three-quarters of Aussie first-home buyers felt confident about their prospects of purchasing in the current low interest rate climate. Mortgage Choice CEO Susan Mitchell said first-home buyer inquiries on properties were up this spring. “First-time buyers have a renewed sense of optimism around property ownership,” Ms Mitchell said.
But good buying will not be evenly spread across the city. First-home buyers will get the best value in suburbs where there has been a combination of falling prices, improved amenities and an attractive lifestyle on offer.
Good opportunities also abound in suburbs with a high concentration of homes priced under $800,000, allowing first-time buyers to claim government stamp duty discounts.
Our hot 20 suburbs for first home buyers include some of the areas first-home buyers should consider putting on their radar.
In no particular order, here are the first 10 suburbs on the list.
Distance from CBD/Sydney 25km Population 22,168 Median apartment price $627,500
Located on the upper north shore, Hornsby is a thriving commercial and retail centre with residential areas — mostly low and medium density homes and apartments — located on each side of the train line.
Recent years have seen the construction of high-rise apartments close to the train line, rounding out the offering of property types.
Hornsby is well serviced by public transport, both buses and trains, and this has made it popular with first-home buyers who want to take advantage of the affordability but still want easy access to the city and other parts of Sydney.
Distance from CBD 12km Population 8866 Median Apartment price $792,000
Freshwater, on the northern beaches, is one of the most heavily-searched suburbs in NSW for online real estate. It appeals to first-home buyers as it has a large number of affordable older-style units that are still within walking distance of the beach.
The suburb has a strong village feel, a main street of hip cafes and fashion shops and an organic market is about to launch each Sunday morning. Express buses take commuters to the city in around 35 minutes.
Distance from CBD 18km Population 7870 Median Apartment price $838,750
First-home buyers are discovering Collaroy in droves this year, finding that with extra borrowing power they can buy a unit very close to the sea.
Collaroy has the feel of Byron Bay on the northern beaches. There is a strong emphasis on outdoor living from surfing, to swimming to exercise.
There is a real mix of residents from young surfer types to families to high-end executives and retirees and everyone gets on well, creating a lovely village feel.
Collaroy Beach is not a crowded beach. There is a modern playground next to the beach and bar tsar Justin Hemmes has opened his watering hole Collaroy to great acclaim.
Distance from CBD 9km Population 10,817 Median Apartment price $757,000
Lane Cove offers something for everyone when it comes to properties, from affordable apartments, right up to luxury trophy homes right on the water.
It has long been a hot spot for investors and first-home buyers, drawn to the entry-level apartments, the suburb’s proximity to the Sydney CBD and its leafy locale, close to shops, supermarkets, cafes and restaurants.
Buses to the city leave the Lane Cove Interchange every 10 minutes, and there is also ferry access from Longueville or Northwood. Lane Cove even has its own aquatic centre, complete with 50m and 25m pools, its own public library, and is close to a variety of public and private schools.
Distance from CBD 15.8km Population 10,860 Median Apartment price $765,000
The suburb of North Ryde is most commonly known among Sydneysiders as the site of
Macquarie University, but the suburb is brimming with other major amenities, attracting buyers from all over the city.
Some of these include Macquarie Centre, Macquarie Hospital, North Ryde Golf Club and a selection of sporting facilities. North Ryde is very centrally positioned with direct access to a number of Sydney’s major roads, public buses and North Ryde train station.
Distance from CBD 18.6km Population 13,297 Median Apartment price $731,000
Delightfully leafy and largely residential, the northern suburb of Marsfield is seeing an increase of young professionals buying into the area.
Marsfield is convenient to a selection of highly regarded educational institutions at varying stages, including Kent Road Public School, Cheltenham Girls High School, Epping Boys High School and Macquarie University. Other local amenities include Macquarie Centre, Macquarie University Hospital, and the business hub in Macquarie Park.
Distance from CBD 5.1km Population 9451 Median Apartment price $780,000
A peaceful haven amid its busy neighbouring suburbs, Annandale is easily recognised by its unusually wide streets, waterfront location and unique workers’ cottages.
Young professionals are also finding value in the accessibility that the suburb provides. Commuters can travel via light rail to the CBD
in under 20 minutes, and some even choose to jog or cycle to work. Annandale is in proximity to a number of buzzing lifestyle locales, including Balmain and Newtown.
Distance from CBD 6.2km Population 14,625 Median Apartment price $875,000
Home to some of Sydney’s best Italian eateries along Norton St and the Italian Forum, the annual Italian Festa food festival, and Tuscan architecture, Leichhardt is famed for its rich Italian heritage. But that’s only the beginning of what this inner west suburb has to offer.
Its buzzing cafe precinct includes popular dog-friendly warehouse conversion The Carpenter Cafe, complete with exposed beams, polished concrete floors and a mouth-watering brunch menu. Families with young children will appreciate the well-equipped playground within Pioneers Memorial Park, as well as two highly regarded primary schools, Leichhardt Public School and Kegworth Public School.
Distance from CBD 6.9km Population 15,029 Median Apartment price $666,000
Its vibrant artistic presence, buzzing cafe culture and enviable sense of community are some of the many things that make Newtown so appealing to both residents and visitors alike.
King St is at the heart of the suburb, showcasing an abundance of cafes, pubs and retail shops.
The Enmore Theatre, a long-running and much-loved live music venue, is located on Enmore Rd nestled between a vast selection of popular restaurants and other eateries.
Newtown’s biggest recreational area, Camperdown Memorial Rest Park, has something
for everyone with a fenced playground for the kids, an off-leash dog area and plenty of shaded lawn.
Distance from CBD 2.8km Population 12,911 Median Apartment price $825,000
The now heritage suburb of Paddington was a downtrodden slum between the 1930s and 1960s and in the 1950s the City of Sydney had plans to demolish the rows of Victorian terraces it’s now famous for.
Fortunately, the suburb started to gentrify as artists, hippies and gays joined the migrant families who’d long lived there. The under-appreciated homes were being renovated. Today, Paddington is a national treasure and realestate.com.au says it’s consistently the most-searched suburb in the eastern suburbs.