Choosing Your Ideal Upper North Shore Suburb - December 2022
December 20, 2022 / Written by Rich Harvey
The Upper North Shore in Sydney is a wonderful place to live. It has an abundance of options for households of all types to enjoy, and all within reasonable distance of both the CBD and the beaches and national parks further north.
But selecting which suburb to live in can be tricky without some local expert knowledge.
I had a chat with our man on the spot, Propertybuyer’s very own Matt Corbett, who gave us the scoop on how to select your ideal suburb in this iconic region.
House type and budget
The type of home you want to buy can impact where you settle in the Upper North Shore.
For starters, think about your desired land and yard size. Also, are you looking for a renovator or something more low maintenance? How many bedrooms and bathrooms will you need for your family? What about separation of living spaces and adequate car accommodation?
There’s no doubt that family buyers are the dominant demographic among Upper North Shore homebuyers. They love large blocks and are keen on things such as tennis courts and pools. Land sizes of 1000 to 1200 square metres are common, with options closer to 2000 square metres also available.
Detached houses here have long histories with many that are more than 100 years old. Designs include California Bungalows and Federation, but there are even older options too – and most have beautiful gardens. If you’re a green thumb (or have a great gardener), this region will be heaven for you.
A lot of buyers here are well resourced. Think lawyers, medical professionals, consultants and business leaders. House prices generally range from around $3 million to $15 million, with a solid band of options between $8 million and $10 million. This money will buy a big home that’s fully renovated and includes a lovely garden, pool and tennis court.
If your budget is a bit tighter, there are suburbs that sit on the fringe of this region with housing options too. You need to draw on expert local advice to work out which compromises are worth making.
Two key considerations
While there is a range of considerations when choosing where you’d like to live, Matt said there are two key fundamentals Upper North Shore buyers always factor in.
The first is proximity to the workplace.
Think about how you are going to get to your job. Will it be public transport, most likely the train, or is it by road? Buyers need to think about how long they’re willing to commute for, as your buying budget may affect this given suburbs with a longer commute could be more affordable.
Upper North Shore buyers are predominant rail commuters heading to the Sydney CBD and North Sydney. Rail will take you to hubs such as the Norwest Business Park, Macquarie Park and North Ryde.
A local factor that impacts price is the appeal of suburbs positioned east of the Pacific Highway, because they offer a flat walk to train stations. Matt said suburbs north of Chatswood such as Pymble, Wahroonga and Lindfield, and suburbs between Roseville and Killara should be on the shortlist of commuter buyers.
The other primary driver of demand is schooling. There are some incredibly well-regarded educational institutions here, so selecting the kids’ schooling will influence where you buy.
Schools such as Abbotsleigh in Wahroonga, Ravenswood in Gordon, Knox Grammar in Wahroonga, Barker College in Hornsby and Pymble Ladies' College in Pymble are high on many wish lists.
Proximity to certain lifestyle options and social circles is also key. Buyers like to be close to friends, family and associated networks of likeminded folk.
While all Upper North Shore suburbs welcome a wide range of cultural backgrounds, there are concentrations of communities in particular suburbs. This means housing here will appeal to particular demographics. For example, St Ives has a strong South African Jewish community while Killara is known for its Korean base. Then there’s Linfield and Chatswood which have strong appeal to the Chinese community. This also means an abundance of lifestyle and retail options have sprung up in these areas that will appeal to this community demographic.
Speaking of retail, accessibility to major shopping centres at Chatswood and Hornsby might influence some buyers’ decisions.
Other lifestyle drivers will include leisure pursuits. Ready access to national parks and waterfronts will be on some radars. Also, sporting clubs can be a must for a certain buyer group. A great example is golf where excellent courses at Gordon, Pymble and Killara do have appeal for those seeking a home within proximity.
As you can see, selecting your ideal suburb in the Upper North Shore requires a bit of digging, but there is gold to be found. The best way to secure what you want is to draw on the expertise of a local professional. If you’re keen on a home in the region, reach out to Matt at Propertybuyer. He’s got the inside running on the best Upper North Shore options.
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