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Best suburbs to live in Sydney 2021

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Have you been searching for the best suburbs to live in Sydney?

When choosing their next move, most buyers have a set of criteria that need to be met. Everyone has different needs, however, there are a few universal categories that help make a suburb stand out from its neighbours. 

What would convince you to shortlist a home? For some it's all about commute time and for others it's proximity to shops and restaurants. Although in the end, most of us have to make some form of compromise, such as looking at adjoining suburbs or being flexible with the property type.

where to live in Sydney

What makes a suburb desirable?

Have a think about the factors that make a suburb desirable. For a lot of people, money is a big factor - that is the specific cost of the property relative to others within a suburb. 

But affordability aside, liveability is just as important to homebuyers. This definition can vary based on the life stage of a buyer. Families are likely to prioritise proximity to good schools and safer areas. Young professionals tend to enjoy inner city suburbs with a short commute to work and plenty of nightlife. 

A recent study by Tract Consultants and Deloitte Access Economic ranked Sydney's suburbs from 1 to 555 using 16 key categories affecting the quality of life of residents. Again, not every buyer will need to tick every box, but a high score is a good indicator of liveability. So what categories are the scores based on?

  • Access to employment
  • Train and light rail
  • Bus
  • Ferry
  • Culture
  • Main road congestion
  • Education
  • Shopping
  • Open space
  • Tree cover
  • Topographic variation
  • Cafes and restaurants
  • Crime
  • Telecommunications
  • Views
  • Beach access

How many of these are important to you? Another tool is the Urban Living Index , an ongoing measure of the livability of suburbs in Sydney developed by McCrindle. The overall score takes into account amenities, accessibility, community, employability and affordability to determine a suburb's score. 

So with these measures taken into account, let's take a dive into the best places to live in Sydney, broken down by region, price, lifestyle and other key livability indicators.

Best suburbs to live in Sydney: Inner West

As its name might suggest, Sydney's Inner West lies immediately to the west of the Sydney CBD. It's a popular destination for families and young professionals comprising of a collection of community-minded villages.

The last two decades have seen a transformation from a largely working class area to a gentrified group of suburbs known for their unique cultural signatures. 

Many suburbs here rank highly in the Urban Living Index including: Surry Hills, Marrickville, Newtown, Rhodes, Balmain, Glebe, Waterloo, Chippendale, Erskineville and Alexandria.

Besides the community feeling of these Inner West suburbs, people are drawn to them for their relative proximity to the CBD. A report published in the Conversation found that the area provided superior access to well paid work. 

"The last two decades have seen Sydney's Inner West transform from a largely working class area to a gentrified group of suburbs"

If that's not enough, residents are also just a stone's throw away from the city's beaches. Real estate in the Inner West varies - buyers will find a healthy mix of period worker cottages, terraces, converted warehouses and even newly developed high rises. 

So how much does it cost to buy in the Inner West? Well, it varies, but house prices are generally above average. 

The median house price in Redfern is currently $1,275,000, while the median price of a unit is $903,000. Over the last year, the Inner West has worn the brunt of much of Sydney's housing woes.

Domain reports that Erskineville's median house price dropped -8.7 per cent over 2018 to December. Petersham was amongst the suburbs that took the hardest hit, taking a massive -15.2% hit in the same period, with current housing prices sitting at $1,250,000 - a relative bargain from where they were 2 years ago. 

If you keep a keen eye out and are prepared to be flexible, you can probably get more bang for your buck in some Inner West suburbs.

best Sydney suburbs

Best suburbs to live in Sydney: Eastern suburbs

If you're a fan of water views (who isn't) and money is no issue, then it's worth taking a look at Sydney's East. The area is home to Sydney's most prime real estate with access to the city's iconic beaches, harbour, parks, top schools and more. You'll find wide leafy streets and harbour views, but of course they come at a price premium. 

Many suburbs in the Eastern Suburbs rank highly in the Urban Living Index, including beachside suburbs such as Bondi, Bronte and Double Bay, as well as eastern suburbs closer to the city such as Woolloomooloo and Darlinghurst which are popular with younger demographics. Potts Point and Randwick were also high 

Keep in mind however, some suburbs in the east do suffer from poor access to public transport - specifically Rose Bay, Vaucluse and Watsons Bay. But don't think for a moment that they come as a bargain, these are also some of the most desirable and safest spots in Sydney. The east has a wide property landscape from Victorian terraces to glitzy medium density high rises and art deco inspired apartments.

It's no secret that Eastern Suburbs real estate can come at a pretty penny. In Point Piper, one of Australia's most exclusive postcodes, the median house price is over $14,000,000 and you won't get much change from $3,000,00 for an apartment.

With its own beach, an excellent cafe culture and some attractively priced homes, Maroubra is definitely worth a look. Buyers might find the suburb more affordable with the median house price sitting at $1,769,500, and units at $820,000.

Best suburbs to live in Sydney: Southwest

Sydney's southwest has a winning combination of affordable property, a stunning coastline and a comparatively laid back lifestyle. Stretching from the greater Liverpool/Camden/Campbelltown area to the Sutherland Shire in the south, there are a lot of reasons to call the Sydney's Southwest home. 

Families flock to the area for 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.

According to Domain's study, the most livable suburbs in the Southwest are Kareela, Woolooware and Bardwell Park, which offer close proximity to beaches, shops and education options. Other suburbs worth researching include Cronulla and Fairfield, which have decent train and road links to the CBD.

"Affordability is the big attraction in the Southwest, with four bedroom family homes well under the Sydney median of $1 million."

Hurstville is also a popular choice, sitting under half an hour to the city via train and boasting a mixture of older homes and low density housing.

Affordability is the big attraction here in the Southwest, with four bedroom family homes well under the Sydney median of $1 million. Hurstville for example currently sits at $1,207,500, while the median price of a unit is $670,000. 

Opt for a beachside suburb like Cronulla and prices rise to a median of $2 million for houses and $775,500 units. Move to Camden and the median house price drops to $680,250, or Fairfield where it is a similar $680,000.

Best suburbs to live in Sydney: West

best places to live in Sydney

Sydney's West is an up and coming region that has seen liveability improve over the last few years. New job opportunities and cultural centres have grown around the hubs of Parramatta and Blacktown, which have quickly developed their own self-sufficient local economies.

Parramatta and Rosehill ranked the highest in the region in the Urban Living Index, as well as Domain's livability study, with Harris Park also making a feature.

"New job opportunities and cultural centres have grown around the hubs of Parramatta and Blacktown, which have quickly developed their own self-sufficient local economies"

Properties here are relatively affordable and include older houses and gleaming new apartment complexes. Together with affordability and improving transport links, the west is an increasingly popular destination for a wide demographic of buyers.

The median house price in Parramatta is $950,000, while units are at $600,000. The unit price in Harris Park is $458,500, while units in Rosehill are an even more competitive $425,000.

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. Suburbs in the area have a more laid back feeling than those closer to the city. Add water views, access to top class beaches and prestigious private schools, and you've got a winning combination.

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.

In the upper area of the region, the leafy bushland suburbs of Hornsby and Waitara score highly on both the Urban Living Index and Domain's livability study

The real estate landscape across the area varies, with everything from stunning waterfront houses to federation mansions and lower density apartment blocks. Depending on the suburb some areas suffer from either a lack of public transport (rail) or congestion at peak hour. That being said, some suburbs by the water are serviced by ferry.

The median house price in Crows Nest is $1,750,000, while units are at $835,000. In Fairlight, on the other hand, the median house price is currently $2,110,00, while units are currently at $1,100,000. On the upper North Shore the sought after Waitara has a median unit price of $655,000.

Best area to live in Sydney for families

safest suburbs in Sydney

Families in Sydney who are looking to buy are spoilt for choice when it comes to liveability. Most families want access to good schools and amenities, and a low crime rate. Ultimately, it will come down to your budget and where you think you and your family will feel comfortable.

Budget conscious families should look towards Sydney's South West for affordable housing and space to breathe. Those who invest in the area can also look forward to the benefits of rapidly improving infrastructure.

Those with a bit more to spend might enjoy the thriving, progressive communities found in the Inner West. 

Finally, if budget is less of an issue than 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

For those that are single or a bit younger and are looking for proximity to nightlife, good eating spots and a job in the city, suburbs like Redfern, Waterloo, Alexandria and Glebe should be on the radar.

Not only are these suburbs close to the CBD, but they're also still relatively affordable. The same can be said for Newtown, Ultimo and Marrickville.

How to choose the best suburb in Sydney for you

When choosing the best suburb in Sydney for you, it's important to weigh up the factors that are most important to you. 

The Conversation's livable study found that those living in the east were more likely to have shorter commute times. However, commute times were seen as less important to those living to the west, where family homes are more affordable.

"When choosing the best suburb for you, it's important to weigh up the factors that are most important to you"

Proximity to a workplace might be the biggest priority for young professionals, however, for young families more space is often more important. 

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.