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Best suburbs to live in Sydney 2024

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OpenAgent articles are reviewed by real estate experts and professionals. Our reviewers confirm the content is thorough, accurate and reflective of current trends and best practice. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more about our editorial policy and review board here.

Johanna is one of the co-CEOs of OpenAgent. She has over 8 years of experience in the real estate industry through her work at OpenAgent and holds a class 2 real estate license in NSW. Previously, Johanna worked at hipages.com.au, Australia's largest trade marketplace, where she built her experience understanding renovations and home improvements for 7+ years.

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What sort of factors do you consider when looking for a new Sydney suburb to live in? For some, it’s all about the commute time, and for others, it’s about proximity to shops, restaurants or really great schools. 

While we might all want to live in a six-bedroom house in Point Piper, the reality is we probably can’t afford it. Money is a big factor when it comes to deciding where to focus your property search.

where to live in Sydney

Affordability aside, liveability is often just as important. While overall, Sydney ranks as the world’s fourth most liveable city according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index, the way we define liveability varies on the life stage of the buyer. Families are likely to prioritise proximity to good schools and safer areas, while young professionals tend to enjoy inner-city suburbs with a short commute to work and plenty of nightlife. 

At the end of the day, we’re sure you have your own set of criteria to meet, but there are a few universal categories that help make a suburb stand out from its neighbours. At Doorsteps, we know that Sydney extends beyond Ashfield, so we’ve leant on a number of liveability indexes and reports to highlight some of Sydney’s best suburbs to live in, broken down by region.

Best suburbs to live in Sydney's 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 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. 

A McCrindle Liveability Index commissioned by Billbergia Group assessed community, amenity, employability and affordability to rank Greater Sydney’s most liveable and affordable suburbs. Inner West suburbs Petersham, Stanmore, Sydney Olympic Park, Homebush, Erskinville, Glebe and Forest Lodge dominated the top spots, with Sydneysiders prioritising the connection, community, and amenity of these locations.

Besides the community feeling of these Inner West suburbs, people are drawn to them for their relative proximity to the CBD and the employment opportunities it offers. 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.  

According to Time Out’s annual list of the 40 coolest neighbourhoods in the world, the Inner West suburb of Enmore is considered the 17th coolest neighbourhood in the world. In terms of Australian cities, it came second to Brunswick East in Melbourne, which came in at 6th place. 

Enmore has been described as ‘where it’s at after dark’ and ‘where students, boomers, millennials and everyone in between comes to hang out’ and in 2022, a Time Out Survey voted Enmore Road the 24th coolest street in the world.

best Sydney suburbs

Best suburbs to live in Sydney's 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 McCrindle’s Urban Living Index, which is an ongoing measure of the liveability of suburbs in Sydney. These include trendy inner city suburbs Surry Hills, Potts Point and Wolloomoolloo. A little further out from the CBD, Randwick also ranks amongst the city’s best.

Domain’s Liveable Sydney study, a ranking of 569 Sydney suburbs, puts harbourside suburb Darling Point and neighbouring Edgecliff amongst the city’s top ten for liveability, with both scoring highly for public transport, walkability, culture and employment. Woollahra and Paddington, both traditional hubs for Sydney’s artistic community, also ranked well on the list.

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, but if you’re looking for relative affordability, Time Out reports Eastlakes, Hillsdale, and Rushcutters Bay are some of Sydney’s cheapest suburbs within 10 kilometres of the CBD.

Best suburbs to live in Sydney's Southwest

South West Sydney is a hotspot of family-friendly suburbs, larger blocks, and affordable properties, so it’s no wonder more families are choosing to call it home. Data from Microburbs shows Sydney’s highest number of couples with children under 15 live in the southwest suburb of Camden, closely followed by Liverpool. Fairfield takes the crown for couples with children over 15.

A report by Property Credit named southwestern suburb Bardia as Sydney’s number one suburb for raising a family in Sydney, with Spring Farm, Holsworthy, Currans Hill, Mount Annan, Elderslie, Glenfield and Harrington Park also making the top twenty.  

Suburbs in this region are often newer estates that are built with families in mind, due to an abundance of local parks, sporting fields, schools and accessibility to things like shopping centres, hospitals, doctors etc. 

Best suburbs to live in Sydney's Western Suburbs

Sydney's Western Suburbs is an up-and-coming region that has seen liveability improve over the 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 North and North Parramatta were Sydney’s top two suburbs in the Urban Living Index for combined affordability and liveability, with Wentworth Point and Northmead also making a feature.

Properties here are relatively affordable and include older houses and gleaming new apartment complexes. Skirting the boundary between the Inner and Greater West, rising star Wentworth Point is one of Sydney’s most relatively affordable suburbs for waterfront housing, with its availability of housing options attracting a young and engaged community.

Together with affordability, improving transport links, universities and access to first-class healthcare, the West is an increasingly popular destination for a wide demographic of buyers.

Best suburbs to live in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire and St George               

This part of Sydney is prized for its beauty, proximity to beaches and the Royal National Park, and all within commuting distance to Sydney’s CBD. 

According to Domain’s study, the top 5 most liveable suburbs in this area are Jannali, Sutherland, Woronora, Oatley and Cronulla.

Affordability is a big attraction in the area. Homes in St George, especially those on the Georges River, rival water views of more expensive suburbs like Mosman and Balmoral. The beachside suburbs are also a big hit, offering an active seaside lifestyle, without the price tags of Bondi and Bronte. 

Suburbs in the Sutherland Shire and St George are family-friendly as well. Offering homes with big blocks and close to a range of established amenities. For those looking for more period-style homes, the suburbs of St George can cater with classic Californian bungalows and semis. 

St George suburbs are also a really popular choice for young professionals, sitting under a half-hour commute to the city by train and boasting a mix of older-style homes and apartment complexes.

Best suburbs to live in Sydney's 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 Domain’s liveability study, Milsons Point in the Lower North Shore is the most liveable suburb in Sydney. Other suburbs in the top ten are Lavender Bay, Kirribilli, McMahons Point, Wollstonecraft, Waverton and North Sydney. Neutral Bay, Mosman, Cammeray and Chatswood also scored highly.

In the upper area of the region, the leafy bushland suburbs of Hornsby and Gordon scored highest on Domain’s liveability 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.

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 outer suburbs for affordable housing and space to breathe. Those who invest in these areas can also look forward to the benefits of rapidly improving infrastructure; for example, WestConnex connecting Western Sydney to Sydney’s inner suburbs, and construction of the Western Sydney Aerotropolis in Badgerys Creek.

Those with a bit more to spend might enjoy the thriving, progressive communities found in the Inner West. Sitchu names Dulwich Hill and Rozelle as its top family-friendly Inner West suburbs, both home to lush parks, good schools, and vibrant cultural life.

Finally, if budget is less of an issue 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

For those who 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, Newtown, Ultimo, Waterloo, Surry Hills, Alexandria and Glebe should be on the radar. 

Sydney Suburbs Reviews picks Paddington, Erskinville, Manly, Forest Lodge, Coogee, Marrickville and Crows Nest as suburbs that also fit the bill.

A little further out, but still within close proximity to the CBD and a little more affordable, are areas like Leichhardt, Beaconsfield and Rosebery.

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 NSW Productivity Commission has reported those living in the east were more likely to work in major hubs like the CBD, North Sydney, Parramatta, and Macquarie Park, to which they are well-connected by public transport and road links.

Proximity to a workplace might be the biggest priority for young professionals, however, for young families more space is often more important. While potentially gaining a longer commute time, families might look to the western suburbs, where family homes are more affordable. 

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 a list of recent sales in the neighbourhood.