Sydney’s housing market to continue growth

Sydney is Australia’s most populous city and its housing sector offers investors unique opportunities with the security that comes with investing in a large and rapidly expanding market.

Property prices in Sydney have increased 25 per cent in the last four years, during which many other housing markets around the world have stagnated or even gone backwards.

The reason that Sydney’s housing prices have continued to rise is simple – more people want to live there. Famous for its landmark Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Sydney is the business and financial capital of Australia, with an ideal climate and a relaxed yet cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Sydney has nearly five million residents and its annual population growth rate of 1.6 per cent is higher than the Australian average. It is also higher than that of any major western city outside Australia, yet less than half of this increase comes from births.

Most new Sydneysiders are overseas arrivals who come to Australia to start a new or better life, seeking employment or education opportunities for themselves or their children. They have created a steady demand for around 30,000 more dwellings each year, pushing up prices and making Sydney the most expensive city in Australia to buy a house.

The median price of a Sydney house is now around A$620,000 (S$786,740) and it is rising. Landed properties can be purchased on the outskirts of Sydney for around half this amount, but they are located far from the city centre. Sydney’s idyllic harbour side location brings problems, as much of the land is locked away in parks or reserves and there is less available for housing. The urban footprint has spread as far south, north and west as there is land available.

It is almost impossible for overseas arrivals to buy a home until they settle and establish themselves, which can take many years. This has led to a rise in Sydney’s rents, which are higher than any other major city in Australia.

High rents and prices have changed Sydney’s landscape. They have led to the abandonment of the dream of a landed home for many young Sydneysiders and led to a boom in apartment living. Over half of Sydney’s dwellings are apartments or “home units” as the locals call them.

The new medium and high-rise apartment blocks contain gymnasiums, swimming pools and garden barbecue areas. The units are fitted out to attract renters, while their design lowers maintenance costs for investors. Many of the suburbs where this transformation is occurring – such as Pyrmont, Ultimo, Camperdown, Double Bay and Broadway – are located close to the central business district and in the urban centre itself.

What makes these dwellings ideal for investors is that prices for home units are still less than 70 per cent of those of similar sized houses.

The Sydney inner urban market is unique because there are fewer development projects in the pipeline than there are in other cities such as Melbourne even as the rental demand is far higher. Rents in these areas are escalating as a result and housing investors from Singapore can buy off-the-plan units with confidence, knowing that both the rental yield and the value of their investment are likely to rise in the coming years.

By John Lindeman – chief property consultant at Australian housing market consultancy Property Power Partners. He is keynote speaker at the Australian Property Symposium 2012 to be held on June 23. Visit for details.

Join The Discussion

Compare listings