Skyline of Sydney
The supply response has been insufficient to meet demands in the Sydney market. Image: Canva
  • Nine of the top ten most expensive Australian suburbs are in Sydney
  • Buyers on a budget that are willing to compromise can buy into top tier locations
  • Investing in low end property in sought after locations allows low entry cost into areas that offer high yield and value growth potential

The idea of buying an affordable home in Sydney is likely to be scoffed at but with a little compromise, some of Sydney’s most desirable locations could be in reach.

Renowned for being the most expensive places in to buy a home in Australia, it comes as no surprise given some of the pristine and sensational locations on offer.

Australia’s top 10 most expensive waterfront suburbs are mostly located in Sydney, with only one exception.

Top 10 most expensive Australian waterfront suburbs

Rank Suburb State Post
Beds Median Price (Current) Median Price (1 yr Ago) Growth 1 yr
1 Vaucluse NSW 2030 House 4 $7,000,000 $4,750,000 47.36%
2 Mosman NSW 2088 House 5 $6,000,000 $5,500,000 9.09%
3 Brighton VIC 3186 House 5 $5,100,000 $4,000,000 27.50%
4 Seaforth NSW 2092 House 5 $4,875,000 $3,775,000 29.13%
5 Mosman NSW 2088 House 4 $4,700,000 $3,700,000 27.02%
6 Darling Point NSW 2027 Unit 3 $4,500,000 $2,800,000 60.71%
7 North Bondi NSW 2026 House 4 $4,400,000 $3,000,000 46.66%
8 Manly NSW 2095 House 4 $4,400,000 $3,100,000 41.93%
9 Bronte NSW 2024 House 4 $4,050,000 $4,000,000 1.25%
10 South Coogee NSW 2034 House 4 $3,600,000 $2,500,000 44.00%

Source: Proptech Group

Apartments are not immune to the sky-high prices, and with a little licence, can be the most expensive property sold in Sydney in a given year.

Opportunities for an affordable entry into prime markets will be tough, but according to Herron Todd White’s (HTW) May Month in Review there may be ways to enter those markets.

Making compromises such as the willingness to buy a knock down and rebuild, smaller house, homes next to a busy road, require improvements, or lack on-site parking are just a few ways to get a foot in the door.

Family friendly Hills District

The suburb of Baulkham Hills has a median house price of $1.65 million and has been well regarded by HTW Director Shaun Thomas for being resilient through any market slowdown.

It is also a popular choice for families due to the wide range of amenities on offer and school catchments.

“Much of the north-west of Sydney comprises young families starting out and upgraders with older children at primary school or high school who desire larger homes catering for everyone in the family.”

Shaun Thomas, HTW Director

One example of an affordable entry point via the knock down and rebuild route includes the recent sale of 74 Burrandong Crescent, according to Thomas. The 1980s built house on a 696 square metre block, sold for $1.365 million in 2022.

The rationale behind the opportunity is most apparent when comparing the above with the sale of 14 Appian Circuit, a 2015 built house on a 901 square metre block, sold in 2022 for a suburb record of $3.385 million.

North of the bridge on budget

Mosman is a popular and premium suburb within this region, with a median house price of $4.9 million.

A recent sale cited by Thomas shows the true splendour and demand for prime property in the locale, with a $33 million sale in 2022 putting the median price well in the rearview mirror.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, entering the market within $1.75 million to $2 million range is much possible, indeed realistic, according to Thomas.

In order to score a Mosman bargain, factors to consider include looking for smaller block sizes, properties close a busy road, a home requiring some basic improvements, or lack of onsite parking.

A 1910s built property on a 245 square metre block, located along the well known Spit Road, a major arterial road, recently sold for an unconfirmed $1.75 million.

Roseville is another popular suburb, with a median price of $3.625 million for houses and $924,000 for units.

A hankering for the latter is commonplace in Roseville, with the unit market starting around $600,000. The compromises buyers may need to make in order to enter the Roseville unit market at a lower price point include looking for an older unit complex, and looking for locations close to busy roads or noisy rail networks.

The $650,000 sale of a 1960s unit at 55 Pacific Highway, Roseville, in February is a recent example of an affordable property in the North Shore area. Though this property would not appeal to everyone, the growing rental yields in the area would make investors interested in this property.

11/55 Pacific Highway Roseville NSW
11/55 Pacific Highway Roseville NSW. Image: Domain.

All aboard the Manly ferry!

Manly is a perennial favourite in the Northern Beaches district as it offers a beach lifestyle and a cornucopia of amenities. This suburb can be unattainable for many due to the $3.85 million median house price and the $950,000 to $1.85 million median price for a one bedroom unit.

However, units such as 6/22 Malvern Avenue do appear on the market at a more affordable price. The 1960s one bedroom one bathroom unit sold for $785k in March this year. It was at the lower end of the price scale due to it only having 34 square metres of floor space. The property may have also appealed to investors, with the asking rental price sitting at $575 per week.

Weekly asking property prices for 2095, including Manly

A surprise from Inner Sydney

In an anomaly, Point Piper saw an affordable unit sold in late 2022.

Often regarded as Australia’s most expensive suburb, median house prices tend to sit at around $7 million, with unit prices at around $3 million.

However, on occasion, properties in the area have sold at more affordable prices, such as the one bedroom one bathroom unit with a 75 square metre floor space at 1/16 Wolseley Road, which sold for $1.32 million.

Weekly asking property prices for 2027, including Point Piper

The beachside beckons

The Eastern Suburbs are home to affluent locales like Bronte. The beachside locale recorded a median house price of $5.2 million, with some properties tipping the eight figure mark – 3 Tipper Avenue was rumoured to have been sold for some $30 million.

The contrasting affordable abodes can be had for a mere tenth of that. The HTW report recalled the sale of a single-level bungalow at 353 Bronte Road, which sold for an undisclosed amount believed to be north of $3 million.

The unit market also saw a studio steal, which sold for $600,000. While the odds seemed to not favour a good rental income, with features such as being at the rear of a 1970s complex, located on a thoroughfare, and only comprised 39 square metres of floor space, it previously managed to fetch $450 per week of rent, a gross yield of 3.9%.

12/38-40 Macpherson Street Bronte NSW
12/38-40 Macpherson Street Bronte NSW. Image:

Bayside living in Southern Sydney

Revered areas such as Connells Point, Blakehurst, Sans Souci, Ramsgate Beach, Kyle Bay, Sandringham and Dolls Point can fetch high prices due to their offering of a bay or riverside lifestyle.

Older dwellings in these areas tend to fetch between $1.6 million and $2.1 million, while larger homes have a price point of around $2.7 million to $3.5 million. Homes of higher quality and better placement tend to go for anywhere between $5 million to $10 million. Units sit at a more affordable price point of $600,000 to $800,000, but newly built duplexes can fetch between $2.3 million to $2.7 million.

However, one and two bedrooms units have sold previously for $500,000 and older smaller houses on smaller blocks have sold for a more affordable $1.35 million.

“Properties within a ‘beer budget’ are lower-risk, quite affordable and appeal for a multitude of reasons such as low entry cost, value growth potential (factoring in renovation works), high yield given that the local rental market has increased significantly and most importantly, these areas are quite a nice place to live”

Shaun Thomas, HTW Director


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