NSW

Larry Schlesinger | 21 November 2012

Bundeena and Pittwater among far-flung Sydney suburbs offering city retreat, but at a cost: HTW

There are a variety of far-flung outer Sydney suburbs that may appeal to buyers looking to escape the rat race, but still want to be within commuting distance of the city, according to the November property market report from valuers Herron Todd White.

Buying a lifestyle property in the outer suburbs offers the opportunity to make capital gains in the long term, but HTW warns that “short-term gains are very susceptible to market conditions of the time and new projects can have extended selling periods”.

Since the GFC prices for beachfront properties or those located close to the beach with water views have been the hardest hit

South of the city, HTW suggest buyers consider Bundeena in the Sutherland Shire, about 35 kilometres from the CBD and reached via a “long and winding road through the Royal National Park".

However, potential buyers are warned that commuting time to the city can double during periods of heavy rain, when the Audley Weir (which allows vehicle access across the Hacking River) is closed, forcing commuters to divert south and take a much longer alternative route along the Princes Highway.

“Housing options include weekend cottages, architect-designed residences and everything in between,” says HTW, with prices ranging from $500,000 for a basic cottage to $3 million for a large modern beachfront residence.

“Services include a small local retail strip, petrol station, bowling club, RSL club and primary school. A limited ferry service runs across Port Hacking to Cronulla for those who wish to commute via train to the CBD and other parts of Sydney.”

Local residents include young families and retirees as well as a location for a holiday house not too far from the centre of Sydney.

North of the city, HTW suggests the islands and beaches of Pittwater such as Scotland Island, Lovett Bay, Elvina Bay and Morning Bay, which can only be reached by ferry or private boat.

“Pittwater offers basic services with shopping, schools and medical facilities on the mainland only.

“Consequently buyer profile is varied and is generally young professionals or empty-nesters,” says HTW.

Property options are also varied and include small weekend cottages and family homes available from the mid -600,000 to $800,000, with asking prices in excess of $1.5 million for waterfront property with modern dwellings and a private jetty.

Another outer-suburban region picked by HTW is the Hawkesbury region, which offers small and large scale acreage properties, riverfront sites and residential blocks in small villages.

“This area is serviced via the regional centres of Richmond and Windsor which provide most, if not all of the necessary amenities.

“Public transport options are limited and this is seen as the biggest negative. There is a railway station at Richmond, but it is a single line and services are limited.”

HTW says this property market tends to follow the same market movements as the wider Sydney metropolitan areas.

“However acreage lifestyle property in areas such as Kurrajong and Pitt Town tend to be more susceptible to rapid market movements.

“This is also the case with property fronting the Hawkesbury River, with extended marketing periods experienced.

“Prices range from $300,000 for a basic residence up to $2 million for prestige acreage/riverfront property.”

HTW valuer Kieran Clair in his introduction to the November report, says outer suburbs are an attractive option for many buyers with most having “some ready transport links, general facilities and sometimes a more rural sense of community”.

“They are areas where your dollar, like your vehicle, travels a little further but if princess wants a pony and the master of the house needs some well-established trees to climb, the far flung locales are just the thing,” he says.

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