"The development boom, the buyer and seller mentality here – and hence the property data – is very different from the rest of Sydney."
Greater western Sydney market to go from strength to strength in 2012
There will continue to be infrastructure growth, new developments and rental yields of 5% to 6% in greater western Sydney. Investors will continue to head west, lured by affordable property with high returns and higher stock levels.
Sydney is a tale of two cities
Until now Sydney buyers have pooled greater western Sydney into the same market as Sydney, but this perception is beginning to change. Greater western Sydney cannot be regarded as the same economy as inner Sydney or the northern beaches. The development boom, the buyer and seller mentality here – and hence the property data – is very different from the rest of Sydney.
We are seeing commercial epicentres emerging here – negating the need for residents to commute to the CBD. New suburbs and shopping districts are appearing, businesses are establishing and settling out here, the M2 motorway is expanding, new and expanded train stations are emerging, and so are large master-planned developments. No other area in Sydney is seeing that amount of change so quickly.
Investors are realising it – and their presence in the area is growing. Rental yields have averaged 5% to 6% here, in comparison to Sydney’s inner west, where they are 3% to 5%. This kind of strong rental yield will continue in 2012, assuming the economy will remain stable.
Hot suburbs to watch
Infrastructure growth and new developments are indicators of good rental yields and capital growth for those areas. Suburbs to watch out for include:
• The Ponds (west of Kellyville): High-quality housing is being developed on a large scale, and this is tipped to be an upmarket area. In November, the $8.5 million landmark Eastern Playing Fields precinct opened. Nearby, Schofield train station has been relocated and expanded. In addition, my belief is that the north-west rail link will have to happen, further benefitting these areas.
• Schofields and Riverstone: A significant amount of land has been released here with quality developments; a major part of the M2 is being widened to three lanes; and a planned Woolworths in Schofields is pointing to the growth of these suburbs.
• Oran Park and Edmondson Park: These are large new suburbs. Edmondson Park is conveniently at the junction of the M7 and M5 corridors and will have a new train station linked to the airport and East Hills lines by 2016.
• Pemulwuy: There have been significant sales in this new suburb by our new Pemulwuy office. In 2010 there was an 11.5% increase in the median house price, and 2011 a 5.6% increase. In October, median house prices were 8% higher than the median house price for the Holroyd area.
Off-the-plan sales to grow
Off-the-plan sales are already at a high due to the wave of savvy overseas investors. Often entire developments are purchased off the plan quickly. That’s where local buyers are missing out. Investors overseas know it’s a safer investment here and are also comfortable buying off the plan. Often, by the time a development is completed these investors have made tens of thousands of dollars on their purchase price.
Local investors are likely to soon change their mentality and realise that off the plan is the way of the future in the greater west. Developments also offer warranties, making the investments as safe as a second-hand property. The challenge is for local buyers to get in there before overseas investors snap up future developments.
Douglas Driscoll is CEO of Starr Partners.