If you haven’t visited Sydney before, deciding where to live will probably be one of your main concerns. The deciding factors are usually budget, distance you are willing to commute from your workplace and the type of lifestyle you prefer.
- Budget: Sydney is expensive. A study by financial Service firm UBS, rated Sydney as the 7th most expensive city to live in, ranking it above London, New York and Singapore. Rents can therefore come as a surprise to people relocating. You can expect to pay a premium for housing closer to the city, beaches or transport links. Rental prices are quoted per week but most are paid monthly. This means $250 a week does not instantly equate to $1000 a month as there are a different amount of days in some months. This can make a difference to your assumed budget – so ensure you do the math.
$250 a week x 52 weeks a year = $13,000
$13,000 : 12 months in a year = $1,083 per month.
- Distance to work: The distance one is willing to commute, where you work and your preferred mode of transport will all factor in to this decision. During rush hour driving in and out of the CBD can be slow but often leaving 20 minutes earlier or later can make a considerable difference. Trains tend to be the fastest mode of transport but Sydney is also well serviced by its bus and ferry network.
To work out estimated commute times go to www.131500.com.au - this is a great website that allows you to enter your start destination (either by address, train station, bus stop or landmark) and time you need to arrive by and it will calculate travel routes available and times.
- Lifestyle Factors: Lifestyle is the most personal of the three key decision making factors. For some having the beach on your doorstep or being walk to the local school matters most. For others it might be great shops, a bigger backyard or peace and quiet.
Eastern Suburbs Home to some pretty harbor-side suburbs as well as the iconic Bondi Beach (and the lesser known Bronte and Coogee beaches) the Eastern Suburbs are very popular and this is reflected in the prices. Try Potts Point or Surry Hills (cool cafés, bars and restaurants make it suitable for younger executives or those who like a little buzz in their neighbourhood), Woollahra and Paddington (Pretty terrace houses, stylish boutiques, close to Centennial park), Bronte, Clovelly or Coogee (if you want the beachside laid back lifestyle), Double Bay, Bellevue Hill, Vaucluse (pretty harbor beaches, large family homes).
The Inner West With a mixture of tree lined streets and made up of a series of vibrant villages, the inner west is Sydney’s groovier cousin. Prices vary in different areas but you should find a suburb that suits your lifestyle. Try: Pyrmont (15 walk to the city, popular with professionals, community feel), Annandale (Character homes in wide, leafy streets), Glebe ( a little left of centre, popular with students and laid back professionals), Balmain (weekend farmers market, great shops, lots of neighbourhood pubs), Newtown (funky, grungy, culturally diverse) and surrounding areas.
The Lower North Shore Very popular with singles and families that love that it’s near the city (15 mins by bus or ferry) but feels set back and self contained- lots of shops, restaurants and beautiful Balmoral beach near by – less groovy – more wholesome. Try Milson’s Point, North Sydney, Neutral Bay, Cremorne and Mosman (apartments with views for executives and family homes with the yummy mummy brigade out in force).
The North Shore As you head up to the North Shore things get a little quieter and a lot leafier. This area is popular with families due to the slightly cheaper houses and abundance of good schools in the area. Perfect for those looking for a more country/less city lifestyle. Try Roseville, Killara, Wahroonga, Gordon, St Ives and surrounding areas.
The Northern Beaches Continue past Manly (which is popular but pricy as 15minutes on the ferry to CBD) and up the coast and life starts to look like a permanent holiday. You get more house for your money and an abundance of beaches to choose from but transport is trickier (no train line or ferry options). A laid back, beach side vibe. Try Collaroy, Mona Vale, Avalon.
Western Suburbs The Western Suburbs of Sydney offer some of the most affordable accommodation options in Sydney and are well positioned for people working in the West Ryde, Macquarie Park and Parramatta business districts. Try Parramatta or the Hills District (see below).
The Hills District This area is in the north-western suburbs and as its name suggests is known for its hilly topography. It is an area popular with families and those looking to buy larger, often new homes with prices more reasonable that some other areas closer to the CBD. Currently bus transport is the only option and traffic getting in and out can be slow. The proposed North West Rail link will make transport much easier. Try Castle Hill, Kellyville, Bella Vista.
South Sydney and the Sutherland Shire The suburbs in the south of Sydney are popular with professionals, families and retirees. They are well serviced for transport and with good shops, parks and beaches near by. Try Sans Souci, Rockdale, Carrs Park and surrounding areas. The Sutherland Shire (usually just known as The Shire) is good for those who love the beach and prefer to be a bit further away from the hustle of the city. Try Miranda, Cronulla and surrounding areas.
Areas to consider if you love an Asian feel
The Chinese have always loved Sydney and the Chinese are represented in all suburbs but there are certain areas which are particularly loved by Asians. Cabramatta in the south west especially around Park Road feels like walking into Asia. There are markets every day and street vendors sell delicious Asian foods and drinks such as sugar cane freshly squeezed. At the Cabramatta BBQ shops you can buy fresghly roasted duck and pig, fish markets are around the corner and exotic fruiy is in abundance. You can buy durian if you can bear the smell, dragon fruit, and sapodillas. Homes are a mix of free standing homes, some on good sized land and apartments.
Areas to consider if you love an Italian feel
Leichardt was traditionally the area of Sydney known for Italian migration and wonderful Italian food but nowerdays Haberfield has some of the best Italian restaurants and wonderful delis selling Italian fare. Federation homes have been renovated around Ramsay Street which has gained a name for wonderful food and interesting supermarkets. Haberfield's parks and tree-lined streets make it a popular choice to live in.
Other useful websites:
www.52suburbs.com.au – This blog is written by a lady who has lived in Sydney for 30years and visited a new Sydney Suburb each week for a year. Her personal observations and wonderful photographs give you an inside look at where you might end up living in Sydney.
http://www.cityhobo.com/ – This site gives a good description of many Sydney suburbs with useful info such as shops/cafes and gyms nearby. They describe each suburb by the type of shoe the residents might wear.