Looking for the best suburbs to live in Sydney?
Then we should start by defining 'best' and what this means for homebuyers when they start their search for the best suburbs in Sydney.
When it comes to choosing where to live, buyers generally have a set of criteria that need to be met. Suburbs that have one or more of these criteria tend to make the shortlist, though most of us have to make a compromise, such as looking at areas adjoining a popular suburb or choosing a unit over a house.
What makes a suburb desirable?
Unsurprisingly for most people dollars and cents - specifically the cost of property in a suburb - trumps all other factors. Other things we take into consideration include how quiet an area is, how high crime rates are and how close essential amenities, like transport and shops are.
Most of us also prefer not to have a long commute to our place of work and like to be able to pop into family and friends that are not too far away.
People also make decisions based on their life stage. Families are likely to prioritise proximity to good schools, while young, single professionals will want to live in a suburb close to work, so location and availability of public transport are likely to be their priorities.
With this in mind this is our updated overview of the best places to live in Sydney, broken down by region, price, lifestyle and other key liveability indicators.
Best suburbs to live in Sydney: Inner West
Sydney's Inner West is now a much sought after destination for families and young professionals. The last decade has seen it transformed from a network of working class suburbs into a gentrified, liveable collection of community-minded villages.
Suburbs in this area rank highly in the Urban Living Index, a measure of the liveability of a suburb. The index is based on the following criteria: density, affordability, community, employability, amenity and accessibility. The ranking suburbs in the Inner West include Surry Hills, Marrickville, Newtown, Camperdown, Darlington, Waterloo, Beaconsfield, Redfern, Chippendale, Erskineville and Alexandria.
Besides the community feel of these suburbs, people are also drawn to them for their relative proximity to the CBD. They are also within striking distance of the city's beaches. Housing is a mixture of period workers cottages, warehouse conversions and newer high rise developments.
"Besides the community feel of these suburbs, people are also drawn to the Inner West for its relative proximity to the CBD."
Inner West median property prices: The median house price in Redfern is currently $1,300,000, while the median price of a unit is $870,000. Domain reports that Erskineville's median house price dropped 8.7 per cent over 2018 to December, so you can probably get more bang for your buck in some Inner West suburbs.
Best suburbs to live in Sydney: Eastern suburbs
If money is no object, or if you have more budget to work with then you are spoilt for choice in Sydney's East. Here you get prime real estate with access to the city's iconic beaches, harbour, parks, top schools and much more. The downside of all this is that you pay a price premium. In Point Piper, one of Australia's most exclusive postcodes, the median price of a unit is currently $3,000,000!
Suburbs popular with buyers include beachside postcodes like Bondi, Coogee, and Clovelly. The East also has edgier inner city suburbs like Paddington and Potts Point, which are popular with a younger demographic. In terms of liveability, Potts Point, Woolloomooloo and Randwick all ranked highly in the Urban Living Index.
You could do worse than investigate Maroubra, which has shaken its once gritty image and now boasts some excellent cafes, a beach and some attractively priced homes.
"In the Eastern suburbs, you get prime real estate with access to the city's iconic beaches, harbour, parks, top schools and much more."
Some suburbs in the east do suffer from poor access to public transport - specifically Rose Bay, Vaucluse and Watsons Bay - but these are also some of the safest suburbs in Sydney. In addition to this, you also get to choose from a variety of accommodation in the east, from Victorian terraces to glitzy medium density high rises and art deco inspired apartments.
In terms of pricing, the median house price in Coogee is currently $2,680,000, while the median price of a unit is $957,500. In Maroubra, the median house price is $1,813,750, while units are at $828,000.
Best suburbs to live in Sydney: Southwest
Sydney's southwest has turned itself around and is today attracting buyers with a winning combination of affordable property, a stunning coastline and a comparatively laid back lifestyle.
The area - which stretches from the greater Liverpool/Camden/Campbelltown area to the Sutherland Shire in the south - is increasingly sought after. Families appreciate the keenly priced homes, wide open spaces and improving local infrastructure. In fact nearly 80 per cent of all homes in this region are classed as family households with children.
Affordability is the big attraction here with four bedroom family homes well under the Sydney median of $1 million. In terms of liveability suburbs to investigate include Hurstville, which is under half-an-hour to the city via train, and boasts a mixture of old houses and low density housing.
As for pricing, the median house price in Hurstville is currently $1,385,500, while the median price of a unit is $695,000. Opt for a beachside suburb like Cronulla and prices rise to a median of $2.24 million (house) and $882,500 (unit). Move to Camden and the median house price drops to $670,000, or Fairfield where the median is currently $714,000.
Best suburbs to live in Sydney: West
Sydney's West is another region that has seen liveability improve, with more local job opportunities and cultural activities proving attractive. Here, the new growth hubs are within the Greater Parramatta area - just 20km from the CBD and Blacktown - which are developing self-sufficient local economies.
Harris Park ranked the highest in the region for overall liveability in the Urban Living Index, with North Parramatta and neighbouring Rosehill also featuring. Properties here are relatively affordable and include older houses and gleaming new apartment complexes. Together with affordability, improving transport links make the west an increasingly popular destination for a wide demographic of buyers.
The median house price in North Parramatta is $1,023,500, while units are at $570,000. The median unit price in Harris Park is $475,000, while units are at $440,000 in Rosehill.
Best suburbs to live in Sydney: North Shore and Northern Beaches
Sydney's North Shore and Northern Beaches are popular and it's not difficult to see why. Many suburbs here have a laid back vibe accompanied with water views and access to top class beaches and prestigious private schools.
According to the Urban Living Index, Crows Nest is the most liveable suburb in Sydney. Other suburbs that scored highly include North Sydney, Lavender Bay, Neutral Bay, Kirribilli as well as Manly and Fairlight.
"According to the Urban Living Index, Crows Nest is the most liveable suburb in Sydney."
Like the east, you can expect to live in everything from stunning waterfront houses to period cottages and lower density apartment blocks here. On the downside, some suburbs still suffer from either a lack of public transport (rail) or congestion at peak hour - though suburbs on the water are serviced by ferry.
The median house price in Crows Nest is $1,855,000, while units are at $890,000. In Fairlight, on the other hand, the median house price is currently $2,222,500, while units are currently at $1,170,000.
Best area to live in Sydney for families
If you have a family and you're looking to buy, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to liveability and access to good schools and amenities. Ultimately, it will come down to your budget and where you think you and your family will feel comfortable.
However, if you want a thriving, progressive community and you're prepared to spend a bit more then you could put suburbs in the Inner West on your shortlist.
Finally if you have a bit more to spend, then the North Shore, Northern Beaches and Eastern suburbs will not disappoint, with plenty of excellent private schools and access to ample green space and water.
Best area to live in Sydney for young professionals
If you are single or a little younger and are looking for proximity to nightlife, good eating spots and your job in the city, then suburbs like Redfern, Waterloo, Alexandria and Glebe should be on your radar! Not only are these suburbs close to the CBD, but they are also still relatively affordable! The same can be said for Newtown and Ultimo.
How to choose the best suburb in Sydney for you
Start your research by looking at the features of a suburb, specifically:
- The price of local property
- Type of accommodation available - houses or units
- Proximity to supermarkets and shops
- Public transport options
- Proximity to your workplace
- How quiet the area is
- The local crime rate
- What local amenities like schools, parks and swimming pools there are
- What parking is available
You can also use the resources on our site to help you, like our free property reports, which include a property value estimate and list of recent sales in the neighbourhood.