A local's guide to real estate in Sydney's Eastern suburbs

Sydney's Eastern Suburbs is a metropolitan area that lies directly to the east and south-east of the CBD. It's a narrow stretch of land that hugs the coast from Vaucluse in the North, all the way down to La Perouse in the south.

This well-to-do group of suburbs boast postcard-perfect views and glamorous beachside living however, residents of the area know that with the luxuries come price tags to match.

Suburbs in Sydney's East

eastern suburbs real estate
Bondi, home to world class Bondi Beach.

The Eastern suburbs can be split into a few distinct areas. To the North is the crown jewel, Woollahra Municipal Council, home to some of the most expensive suburbs in Sydney, including Vaucluse, Rose Bay, Darling Point and Double Bay. These suburbs are characterised by unparalleled harbour views and exclusive mansions, such as former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's stately residence in Point Piper.

A little further south is the Waverley Council, home to Bronte, Clovelly and Tamarama, which is lovingly known by the locals as 'Glamourama'. These suburbs sport large houses, winding leafy streets and harbourside villages. Waverley Council is also home to the world-famous Bondi Beach and the suburbs that surrounds is home to an extensive array of luxury apartments.

"The Eastern Suburbs are characterised by unparalleled harbour views and exclusive mansions, such as former Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull's stately residences in Point Piper."

Lying slightly to the west are the more inner-city suburbs of Paddington, Surry Hills, Moore Park, Darlinghurst and Kings Cross. Each have their own unique set of characteristics but generally, the landscape in this area is dominated by modern apartments and renovated Victorian Era terraces.

Further to the south-east is the City of Randwick Council, an area of beachside suburbs such as Little Bay, Coogee, Maroubra and the historic Botany Bay and La Perouse. These suburbs are generally more modest than their northern neighbours and have more of a standard suburban feel.

Sydney's Eastern Suburbs' demographics

It goes without saying that residents of the Eastern Suburbs are generally more affluent than the average Australian, or the average Sydneysider for that matter. Let's take a look at a few statistics from the 2016 Census to get a better idea of people who call the east home.

  • The median age of residents in the last census was 35, which was slightly younger than the national average of 37.
  • 39.7% of the residents were married, 46% were not married and the remainder lived in defacto relationships.
  • Over 50% of Eastern Suburbs residents were born in Australia, followed by England at 5.5% and China at 4.3%. The most common ancestry was English, before Australian, Irish, Chinese and Scottish.
  • The highest group for religious beliefs was no religion at 31.8%, followed by Catholic at 23.2%.
  • 41.8% of Eastern Suburbs residents had bachelor degrees, which is almost double the national average of 22%
  • The most common occupation in the east was professionals at 37.7%, before managers at 18.2%.
  • Median personal weekly income was $1020, which was expectedly much higher than the Australian average of $662. The household median weekly income was $2163, which was also far more that the national average of $1438.

Things to do in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs

Vaucluse real estate
Heritage listed Vaucluse House in Vaucluse, Sydney | Source: The Daily Telegraph

One of the main appeals of the Eastern Suburbs is the endless list of attractions in the area. Every suburb has its specialty, whether it's one of the many world class beaches, a top tier cafe or bar scene or perhaps it's retail therapy in the form of high street fashion.

Here are some landmarks worth visiting:

  • Bondi, Bronte and Coogee Beach, perhaps three of the of the most famous in the country.
  • The Bondi Beach to Coogee coastal walk, a 6km stretch offering stunning views of the Pacific Ocean, and once a year, the 'Sculpture by the Sea' exhibition.
  • Moore Park Entertainment Quarter, home to Allianz Stadium, Fox Studios, Hordern Pavilion and more.
  • Royal Randwick Racecourse, one of the oldest in Australia.
  • The historic Vaucluse House, a heritage-listed area and museum.
  • The Ritz Theatre, a stylish place to watch the latest films.
  • The Australian Natural History Museum in Darlinghurst.
  • Shopping and commercial centres found at Bondi Junction, North Randwick, Maroubra and Double Bay.
  • The University of NSW located in Kensington.

Transport in the Eastern Suburbs

Being close to the coast is great for the lifestyle, but in terms of transportation the Eastern Suburbs is slightly limited. There are train stations at Edgecliff and Bondi Junction that lead to the CBD and the South, but beyond that, residents have to opt for a car or commute via the many bus routes that service the area.

So how do most residents actually travel then? Well according to the last census:

  • 39.9% commuted to work via car, as the driver
  • 15.3% caught the bus
  • 5.9% caught a train and a bus
  • 7% walked

Developments in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs

In terms of developments in the Eastern Suburbs, there are a few refurbishments that council areas are undertaking to freshen up public and civic areas. These include:

  • A refresh of Coogee's Beach St by Randwick City Council, including the removal of overhead power lines, planting of new trees, widening of pathways and the laying of new pavements
  • The development of a new sporting facility called the Heffron Centre in Maroubra, which will include tennis courts and a gymnastics centre
  • A new monument for the La Perouse heritage area
  • A new cycle way from Bondi Junction to the CBD has been given the all clear for construction
  • A junior skatepark extension to the popular Bondi Beach Skatepark has also been given priority

Real estate in Sydney's Eastern Suburbs

houses for sale eastern suburbs
Houses in Paddington have a median value of $2,400,000 | Source: realestateVIEW

The Eastern Suburbs are home to some of the most expensive houses in Sydney - there's no doubt about that - but median house price varies greatly between suburbs. Here are some examples:

  • Median house price: $5,500,000
  • Median unit price: $1,200,000
  • Median house price: $4,500,000
  • Median unit price: $1,400,000
  • Median house price: $2,600,000
  • Median unit price: $1,200,000
  • Median house price: $2,400,000
  • Median unit price: $893,000
  • Median house price: $2,400,000
  • Median unit price: $920,000
  • Median house price: $2,600,000
  • Median unit price: $1,100,000
  • Median house price: $1,900,000
  • Median unit price: $847,000

Despite the area being costly over all, there is quite a variety in the property landscape. Here are some standout real estate examples and where to find them:

  • If you're looking for blue ribbon properties, you want to look somewhere around the north side, between Double Bay and Vaucluse. Properties here vary between old federation mansions and newer modern apartments.
  • Further down the coast towards Bondi, you're likely to find a higher density of apartments and townhouses. Unique to this area is a fine array of art deco apartments between Bondi and Bondi Junction.
  • On the southern side of the Eastern Suburbs, properties are generally a lot more modest, with relatively normal sized family homes in areas such as Maroubra. Some of these houses are older federation age dwellings, while others are newer buildings. You'll also find a steady flow of apartments and townhouses all throughout the area, especially closer to the coast and town areas.
  • Inner city suburbs such as Paddington and Surry Hills are predominantly apartments or Victorian Era terrace houses, most of which are well kept and refurbished.

This region is great for…

The Eastern Suburbs is an amazing part of Sydney, just around the corner from the Harbour Bridge. While the blue ribbon status comes with a hefty price premium, the area is great for:

  • A relaxed, coastal lifestyle
  • Independent couples, singles and homesharers under 35 years of age, and maturing, established independents between 35-54 years of age.
  • Cafes, restaurants and bars by the beach
  • Premium, luxury residences, including apartments with breathtaking views
  • High street fashion
  • Glamorous nightlife
  • Heritage sites and parklands
Maroubra real estate
While relatively costly, the Eastern Suburbs area is great for independent couples, singles and homesharers.

Tips for finding great real estate agents in the Eastern Suburbs

It's important to find a real estate agent that you trust, after all property is likely to be your biggest asset. Choosing the right agent is important, so don't always search for the one with the lowest commission - look for the person who you think will be best suited to represent your home. Do they have experience with your type of property? Do they know how to present your property in its best light? How well do they know the area?

The average real estate commission in the Eastern Suburbs is 1.73%, which in comparison to the NSW average range of 2% - 2.5%, is a lot lower. This is likely due to the overall premium price of the area.

"Choosing the right agent is important, so don't always search for the one with the lowest commission - look for the person who you think will be best suited to represent your home."

Actual commission rates may vary, as do commission structures, so the best thing to do to find the rate most appropriate for your property is to negotiate with local agents in the Eastern Suburbs.

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