May 8, 2014 by Craig Pontey
Having been a real estate agent in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs for more than 35 years, I often find myself thinking about the many factors that together make up the appeal of this extraordinary market. And I do believe that this a remarkable market, its residential DNA is both complex and yet I would suggest fairly clear-cut and easy to understand. While other areas and cities have markets that are very popular, lets devote some time to thinking about what it is that makes ‘The East’ so popular, and such a sought-after place.
History has its part to play, the first Government House was built on our doorstep in 1788 on the corner of Phillip and Bridge Street, and that might well have been the starting point and many other grand colonial homes then followed. However residential development was always a mix, there were the mansions but also the everyday working suburbs like Darlinghurst and Paddington.
Today Paddington is a sought after location but its ‘terrace’ style of housing evolved originally as a dormitory suburb and for decades it was an area popular with immigrants, with its fair share of boarding houses. But that has all changed over the last 25 years and now Paddington is part of the very rich diversity that I think is one of the key reasons why Sydney’s East is Australia’s most popular places to live.
This same diversity is still very much in evidence today when it is still possible to buy a studio apartment for around $250,000 or an expansive home for $5,000,000 to $10,000,000 or of course much more. But still no matter your budget residents have access to the areas great attractions and facilities.
I think it’s worth reminding us that the extent of the market’s diversity delivers a great range of options. There are the high profile waterfront homes, the rows of terraces in Paddington, the variety of apartments from the Paris end of Potts Point and its café society to an apartment perched 20 or 30 levels above the city, some with almost unbelievable views, and singles or families can live near what international visitors see as a dazzling choice of beach-side suburbs.
Diversity Underscores Price Growth
While we might be very used to Sydney having lots of million dollar suburbs, I think at last count there were 130 plus, It was the east that set the pace with the sale of Boomerang in Elizabeth Bay, which was sold for $1.24m in 1978 and long accepted as Sydney’s first $1,000,000 house sale. That was followed in 1988 by the sale of a Paddington Terrace on Glenview Street for $1,012,000. Further in 1997 when the first major survey of million dollar homes was published Sydney’s east accounted for 4 out of 7 suburbs which at the time ranked in the survey.
While last year’s most expensive individual house sale was the $33.5 million paid for the “Bang and Olufsen’’ house on Wolseley Crescent, Point Piper, Sydney.
While few people can realistically pay $33,000,000 for a home the east’s great diversity makes it possible to live in an apartment with a view of the Opera House, or live within easy access to great schools, or at the other end of the scale get to the airport in 10-15 minutes, or enjoy the social life of the area’s cafes and shopping or grab a surf board every morning and soak up beach culture. It’s also an area that appeals to singles, families and us ‘oldies’ and so I think it’s an area with a rich past but an even brighter future.
We all like choice, we enjoy diversity and I think these will always be significant aspects of the residential market across the East giving it strength and durability no matter what are the prevailing market conditions.
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