Are Tired Misconceptions Blinding You from Sydney’s Next Boom Suburbs?

For most who live within 10 or 20km of the centre of Sydney, the West seems to be considered a sprawling void of fibro shacks and bogans. This ignorance might be funny to those of us enjoying the west (life is peaceful here!), but if you’re a property investor who’s written off the western suburbs without checking your facts, you could be passing up big opportunities.

I live in Kings Langley, located 45km from the Sydney CBD, and whenever I mention that I live ‘near Blacktown’, more often than not I get asked ‘Is it safe?’ Well, it is certainly is safe. The Microburbs Safety Score, based in NSW on Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research data, rates Kings Langley at 9/10, which is miles ahead of the trendy inner suburbs. With the North West Metro coming in less than 3 years, the area is set to be cracked wide open, and by the time Sydney wakes up to what’s on offer, investors will have missed the boat.

Bella Vista

Bella Vista is among some of the most well known suburbs in Sydney to those who have never stepped foot in the west. A key selling point for this suburb is not just the abundance of palatial two storey homes but also the well designed landscaping and large public parks. The share of land between commercial precincts and residential areas has also been well balanced.

The Norwest business park is a 5 minute drive away and already hosts offices from big companies like Woolworths, PwC, Schneider and Resmed. Expected completion for the North West Metro will be in 2019 and will include stations for both Bella Vista and Norwest.

For working parents, there is better supply of child care services making it far more affordable than the city. Some big landmarks include the Norwest private hospital & Hillsong church.

Also located in Bella Vista is Matthew Peace primary school which is ranked among the top 10 in the state

 

Microburbs Report for Bella Vista

Microburbs Safety Score: 9/10

Median House Price: $1,378,000

Median Rent: $780/wk

Annual Growth: 10.1%

Kings Langley

My home burb’  is located just west of the prestigious Bella Vista and 5km north of Blacktown. The homes there were mostly built between the 60’s and 80’s so you’ll expect to see a lot of brick. The strict council covenants on development in this suburb have ensured that the streetscape has a lot of unity and appeal.

Kings Langley is also a go-to destination for cyclists who want to take advantage of the purpose built cycleway along the M7.

Lower mortgage rates and better family friendly facilities adds to the quality of life in suburbs like Kings Langley. The high numbers of owner-occupied homes is also indicative of this quality.  

 

Microburbs Report for Kings Langley

Microburbs Safety Score: 9/10

Median House Price: $857,000

Median Rent: $520/wk

Annual Growth: 9.7%

The Ponds

The Ponds has become one of the most sought after suburbs in the west. Compared to the same period five years ago, the median house sales price for houses increased 165.5% (realestate.com.au).

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The Ponds is much newer than the established suburbs of Baulkham Hills and Bella Vista but with the Rouse Hill Town Centre just 10 minutes away and the higher abundance of public parks & recreation areas makes it very liveable.

This suburb has won several town planning design awards for its innovative use of space and using the local stormwater to make an artifical pond known as ‘The Ponds Lake’. These areas make the suburb a great place of community where families often gather in evenings and host barbeques. The clever use of public space is also designed to compensate for the small backyard sizes that are increasingly common in new suburbs.

Another selling point is the proximity to the council owned leisure and aquatic centre known for its popular wave pool.

 

Microburbs Report for The Ponds

Microburbs Safety Score: 8/10

Median House Price: $942,000

Median Rent: $650/wk

Annual Growth: 21.6%

 

Baulkham Hills

(With the exception of areas directly near the shopping centre) the high affluence level, distance from train stations and large land sizes make Baulkham Hills one of the safest suburbs in Sydney.

Located just above Castle Hill, the hills shire is is known for its abundance of local parks, with a total of 329 parks in total to walk the dog or play with the kids.

Whilst there is no train station, busses to the city provide an express trip to CBD via M2 and Lane Cove Tunnel with a travel time of around 30-40 minutes. Baulkham Hills high school, an academically selective school is consistently ranked among the top 10 in the state.

Low traffic levels and easy parking is a key benefit of western suburbs like Baulkham Hills. This makes regular travel to places like supermarkets, convenient and less stressful.

Microburbs Report for Baulkham Hills

Microburbs Safety Score: 9/10

Median House Price: $1,060,000

Median Rent: $580/wk

Annual Growth: 11%

 

Glenmore Park

A lesser known suburb sitting on the edge of Sydney is Glenmore Park, located 8km south of Penrith and right next to the blue mountains. A key advantage of the west is that lower density living means overall lower noise levels and better peace at night. Despite being located close to Penrith, Glenmore Park is often described as a very friendly suburb with neighbours you can ‘trust a spare key to your house with’.

With a median house price of just $700,000 this makes it makes it the most affordable on this list. In terms of public transport, Penrith train station is just a 15 minute drive away. Combined with an express train to the city, the total journey is just over an hour to get to work; not too bad for suburb located 59 kilometers from the city.
Microburbs Report for Glenmore Park

Safety Score: 9/10

Median House Price: $700,000

Median Rent: $490/wk

Annual Growth: 9.7%

If you’re an informed investor, and I’m guessing you are if you’re on the Microburbs blog, I would encourage you to take a drive through these parts of outer western Sydney. You may be surprised by the communities and opportunities you find out here.

Explore beyond the stereotypes and myths and get the facts now with a Microburbs report on any address or area in Australia:

For press enquiries about this article, please call Microburbs Founder Luke Metcalfe on 0414 183 210.

Can’t Get A Great Halal Snack Pack? Sell Your House.

The Halal Snack Pack, for those who have somehow missed it, is a kebab store dish on the rise. From the massive online Halal Snack Pack Appreciation Society, to TV stunts between politicians, it’s not just a trending snack food but a symbol of Australian multiculturalism. It is best described as a dish containing halal-certified doner kebab meat, hot chips and the ‘holy trinity’ of sauces – chilli, garlic & barbeque.

(Senator Sam Dastyari – Photo by SBS)

The snack sensation is even set to cross over into real estate. The most Muslim dominated suburbs have also seen property prices increase by 37% nationally, smashing the national average, and ‘buy near a great Halal Snack Pack shop’ might be the best, weirdest investment advice of 2016. 

We’ll focus on three Sydney suburbs that have had the best rated HSP in Australia and give a very brief overview of unique investment strategies for each one. These strategies are to give examples of the potential in these areas and are general information only. It’s important to consider your individual needs and get qualified advice before making any big decisions. 

Campbelltown – Granny Flats

Suburb: Campbelltown

Growth: 14.1%

Best HSP: King Kebabs

Strategy: Granny Flats

Free Microburbs Report: Here

King Kebabs Campbelltown is currently Sydney’s no.1 spot for HSP. Coincidentally, Campbelltown is also a sleeping giant in terms of property investment.

Located on the southern edge of metropolitan Sydney, C-town has had 14.1% growth in the past year. The key selling point for investment is that some of the older houses with large land sizes have the potential for granny flats to be built on them. The key benefit of building granny flats is that you can secure rent from both the tenants of the original house and the new granny flat at the same time. In today’s low interest rate environment, this investment can pay itself off and in many cases be positively geared.

What makes Campbelltown attractive is that the median house price is $580,000, nearly half the Sydney median.

It is possible to buy relocatable/portable granny flats from $80,000 (plus council contribution) including installation costs. Watch out for super low priced relocatables which may leave out major installation costs plus other essentials.

If you want to build on site, average costs range from $100,000 – $120,000 which doesn’t include council contributions that vary council to council.

The maximum size for a 2 bedroom granny flat is 60sqm. Additionally, the granny flat will need to be located at least 3m from the house, 3m from the back fence and 1m from the side fences.

If you’re concerned about being able to find tenants this far from the city, our data shows Campbelltown has a family score of 8/10. This is characteristic of suburbs in outer western Sydney where many families prefer the larger availability of day-care and schools (compared to the inner-west).

Blacktown – Duplexes

Suburb: Blacktown

Growth: 11.5%

Best HSP: Kebab Express Blacktown

Strategy: Duplexes

Free Microburbs Report: Here

Kebab Express Blacktown is another top rated HSP location, and my personal favorite. Whilst they sadly no longer offer Shisha, it is open until midnight for all your late night banter.

For investment, the southern parts of Blacktown contain many properties with large land size and small houses. These properties are often over 1000sqm. Apart from the potential for granny flats, this also opens the opportunity for building a duplex or subdiving into two lots.

Once built, a duplex can then be strata titled and sold off individually for a great return. Whilst there are plenty of risks that could come into this, this strategy has been quite popular with investors across Australia in recent years.

Another strategy is to subdivide the property into two lots, build a duplex at the back lot, sell the old house at the front lot and rent out the new houses.

Despite the myth that Western Sydney has no culture, Blacktown has a Microburbs lifestyle score of 8/10, and our comprehensive report shows why. The Westpoint shopping centre has plenty to see and do, and there’s a great diversity of restaurants, including Ethiopian, Italian, Indian, Mexican and more. The motorway junction also makes Blacktown quick to reach by road from any side of Sydney. 

 

Kingswood- Rooming Houses

Suburb: Kingswood

Growth: 13.7%

Best HSP: Pizza Stop Kingswood

Strategy: Rooming Houses

Free Microburbs Report: Here 

Located near Penrith is the well known ‘Pizza Stop Kingswood’ which consistently gets 10/10’s on the HSPAS page.

With a three bedroom median house price of 590k and growth rate of 13.7%, it is a great opportunity for first time investors in one particular strategy known as rooming houses.

Located between the large Nepean hospital in Penrith and the Western Sydney University campus, there will be large demand from tenants seeking affordable options.

Simply put, rooming houses are a type of rental set-up where in a single house, each room is rented out to separate tenants. This strategy can be applied to any house, but during your research remember to check with the following agencies to be clear on the different rules for each council:

  • Local council
  • Department of Fair Trading
  • Residential Tenancy Act
  • Department of housing NSW

A tip for investors is to find a trustworthy handyman and build a good a good relationship with them. With all your properties, you’ll need someone who can fix things reliably and give their own advice on property management from a technical perspective.

If you would like to find out more about the investor data, hip score, safety score and much more about any suburb in Australia, you can search here: 

Also check out our other article about ethnic groups with the best real estate gains in Australia (spoiler: the Chinese aren’t no. 1.) 

 

For press enquiries about this article, please call Microburbs Founder Luke Metcalfe on 0414 183 210.

Australia’s Hippest Universities Ranked By Their Microburbs

So you’ve decided to go to uni but not sure which uni will have a great student life to accompany your degree. You also want to live in an area that is affordable but isn’t boring. On top of all that, you want your uni to have a good academic ranking.
Using the Microburbs ‘Hip’ score, we’ve found the Universities in Australia that have great ethnic diversity, are easy to cycle to, have plenty of young singles and plenty of good cafes, pubs and bars. We’ve put our 5 favourites from the list that will be useful for uni students and investors. The full top 10 is at the bottom. Whilst there are 43 universities in Australia, we’ve focused our list on regional unis as well as some of the ‘group of eight’.

5. Southern Cross University (Lismore Campus):

Hip Score 8 / Rent from $160 per week /Australian Uni Rank 23rd
Lismore is just a 40 minute bus to Australia’s most hyped regional sin city Nimbin and 44 minute bus to the world famous Byron Bay; two of the most ‘go to’ tourist destinations in regional Australia. Lismore itself does boast a surprising amount to do, including access to 30 different restaurants, the regional art gallery and the heritage listed rainforest.

4. Griffith University (Gold Coast Campus)

Hip Score 7 / Rent from $130 per week /Australian Uni Rank 16th
With just a 15 minute drive to both Main Beach and Surfers Paradise, you can explore everything that Australia’s 6th largest city has to offer from the theme parks, nightlife, huge beaches and plenty of young, friendly European tourists to mingle with.
Whilst many students live on campus, the north-eastern side of Parkwood is also popular with a hip score of 7/10.

3. University of Newcastle

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Hip Score 8.5 / Rent from $120 per week / Australian Uni Rank 13th

Located 12km from Newcastle city centre, UoN is a popular second choice for aspiring medicine students from Sydney. Newcastle city itself has a hip score of 8/10 and is well known for Nobby’s beach, the vivid nightlife but also the Newcastle night markets which feature street foods, craft beers and artisan foods. Near the beach and around train stations is most popular for student accommodation which have a hip score touching 8.5/10

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Other popular suburbs for students include Birmingham Gardens, Jesmond and Warratah West which have an average hip score of 7/10.

2. University of Sydney

Hip Score 10 / Rent from $130 a week / Australian Uni Rank 3rd

The oldest university in Australia is conveniently placed in the city’s inner west; a cultural hub of underground music venues, Newtown night markets, good food and wine festival plus the occasional do-it-yourself Cafe.

Some have criticised Sydney’s recent lockout laws for having had a dampening effect on Sydney’s nightlife. However, this hasn’t stopped vast amount of international music acts regularly coming to perform in the venues like the Enmore Theatre, Oxford Art Factory and much more.

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The top suburbs for students include Camperdown, Newtown, Chippendale, Surry Hills & Ultimo which have an average hip score of 10/10.

1. University of Melbourne

Hip Score 10 / Rent from $150 per week /Australian Uni Rank 2nd

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Melbourne just takes the top spot after Sydney with a higher hip score and an even better academic reputation. What Melbourne lacks in harbour bridges and opera houses is made up for in laneways and trams, 24 hour nightlife and no lockout laws which make it a great playground for uni students.

Fitzroy (pictured above) was recently named one of the world’s most hipster suburbs and is located just 5 minutes from the uni.

Microburbs founder and lead analyst Luke Metcalfe says “Melbourne is the clear leader among Australian cities for hip score. Sydney may have a strong cluster of very hip suburbs, but when the city is considered overall, Melbourne scores higher.” Australia’s #2 university in the heart of Australia’s hippest city, all with reasonable rents makes the University of Melbourne our hip uni winner.

The full list of the top 10 is below:

 

Rank University Australian Ranking Hip Score Lowest Rent
10. University of Tasmania 19th 7/10 $160 per week
9. The University of Western Australia 7th 7/10 $190 per week
8. Southern Cross University (Lismore Campus) 23rd 8/10 $160 per week
7. University of New England (Tamworth) 29th 8/10 $175 per week
6. University of New South Wales 4th 8/10 $150 per week
5. University of Newcastle 13th 8.5/10 $120 per week
4. University of Adelaide 8th 9/10 $150 per week
3. University of Sydney/UTS 3rd/9th 10/10 $130 per week
2. RMIT (Melbourne) 14th 10/10 $150 per week
1. University of Melbourne 2nd 10/10 $150 per week

Sources:
http://www.australianuniversities.com.au/rankings/
http://goodeducation.com.au/queensland-regional-universities-are-top-performers/

You can find your uni’s hip score and Microburbs report now, just by searching here.

 
For press enquiries about this article, please call Microburbs Founder Luke Metcalfe on 0414 183 210.