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.
Affordability aside, liveability is often just as important. The way we define liveability varies on the life stage of the buyer. While 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.
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.
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.
Many suburbs here rank highly in McCrindle’s Urban Living Index, which is an ongoing measure of the liveability of suburbs in Sydney. Including: Marrickville, Leichhardt, Annandale, Newtown, Camperdown, Darlington, Redfern, 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.
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 51 coolest neighbourhoods in the world, the Inner West suburb of Marrickville is considered the 33rd coolest neighbourhood in the world. In terms of Australian cities, it came second to Fitzroy in Melbourne, which came in at 27th place.
Marrickville has been referred to as ‘the new Newtown’ and ‘the new Paddington’ and earlier this year, a Time Out Survey voted Enmore Road as Sydney’s coolest street.
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 (McCrindle), including beachside suburbs such as Bondi, Bronte and Double Bay, as well as suburbs closer to the city such as Woolloomooloo and Darlinghurst which are popular with younger demographics. Potts Point and Randwick were also ranked highly.
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, heading further south to Maroubra, Malabar, and Little Bay might reap some rewards.
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 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.
Properties here are relatively affordable and include older houses and gleaming new apartment complexes. 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.
South West Sydney is a hotspot of family-friendly suburbs, larger blocks and affordable properties; it is also one of Sydney’s fastest growing regions. According to a 2018 study by Aussie Home Loans and CoreLogic, South West Sydney was named as the most popular area for families.
The region boasted 11 of the country’s 20 suburbs with the greatest concentration of families with children, according to home sales and census data. West Hoxton was named as the region’s most family-friendly suburb. Other suburbs that were deemed family friendly include Horningsea Park and Prestons.
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.
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 a Domain study, the top 5 most livable suburbs in this area are Woolooware, Kareela, Cronulla, Sutherland and Woronora.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, Newtown, Ultimo, Waterloo, Surry Hills, Alexandria and Glebe should be on the radar.
A little further out, but still within close proximity to the CBD and a little more affordable, are areas like Marrickville, Annandale, Leichhardt, Beaconsfield and Rosebery.
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.
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:
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.
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