The Covid pandemic has sparked a scramble for homes near Sydney’s beaches, with new research revealing many of the most popular were hidden pockets far from the crowds.
The Covid pandemic has sparked a scramble for homes in Sydney’s remote beach suburbs as buyers capitalise on work from home arrangements and try to get away from the crowds.
Beach suburbs on the city fringes were among the most sought after areas last year, with prices skyrocketing by nearly 50 per cent in some areas, a study powered with realestate.com.au data showed.
This was close to double the 25 per cent growth in values across the Sydney market as a whole – the fastest rise in prices since the late 1980s.
Many of the most popular beach suburbs were areas previously overlooked by buyers due to “the curse of distance”, but this attribute was now prized due to the pandemic, experts said.
Realestate.com.au economist Paul Ryan said Sydneysiders had started prioritising lifestyle over proximity to workplace – a trend he expected to continue in 2022.
“The post-Covid period has been one of the biggest preference shifts for buyers that we have seen in a decade,” Mr Ryan said. “The places with the biggest lifestyle appeal are beachside.”
The realestate.com.au report provided exclusively to The Daily Telegraph ranked the 10 most popular beachside suburbs for demand and price growth in 2021.
Mr Ryan said the data showed a shift towards regions in the north and south that were a long commute from the CBD.
They included Bundeena, an hour’s drive south of Sydney. The suburb surrounded by Royal National Park had a 73.7 per cent increase in buyer demand for houses, the biggest increase across Greater Sydney.
The median price of houses in the area was about $1.3m at the start of 2021 but it ballooned by about $450,000 to $1.75m over the year.
Shellie Boswell from Ray White Bundeena said this was largely due to an influx of city dwellers.
“We’ve had more city-slicker types coming out here because they’re enjoying the lifestyle,” Ms Boswell said. “Instead of having a unit (in the city), they’re living in a house for a similar price.”
She said rental properties at her agency had increased by $200 a week since the start of the pandemic.
“If you’re going to be locked down, where would you rather be?” she said.
Kurnell in Sydney’s south came third place for both demand and price increases in housing, with values shooting up 49.3 per cent.
Cory Bell from Cronulla Real Estate said the pandemic and remote work arrangements had led to an acceleration in growth. “It’s become unbelievably popular,” Mr Bell said.
The Central Coast and Northern beaches also featured heavily in the lists, both for houses and units. Dale Bassett from McGrath Ettalong said Pearl Beach had become “the darling of the coast” – a trend that started not long after the pandemic.
Mr Bassett said he had sold properties that had doubled in value in three years, bringing new-found wealth to local homeowners, but locking out local first-time buyers.
Pearl Beach topped the list in terms of house price growth at 49.7 per cent.
Less remote beach suburbs that recorded a surge in prices were Ramsgate Beach in the St George area, which had a 26.7 per cent increase in unit values and a 17.9 per cent uptick in demand.
Homeowners in the neighbouring suburb of Kogarah Bay, Sam and Natalin Yasseem, said the area held plenty of lifestyle appeal at a reasonable price.
“The area’s got everything we need for us to live quite comfortably,” Mr Yasseem said. “I’ve been spoiled for choice in that I’ve got Ramsgate Beach and Carss Park.”
“We’re near the parks and the beach,” Ms Yasseem said.
The young family has listed their house at 4B Wyee Street through McGrath San Souci but are planning to stay in the area.
Selling agent and Ramsgate local Trent Tarby said recent development had created “a nice little buzz” thanks to the creation of a thriving cafe scene.
He said he expected sustained growth in 2022 thanks to tight stock and growing popularity, with more Eastern suburbs residents taking advantage of the area’s lower price point.
“It’s really competitive pricewise for what they would get in their area,” he said. “You save quite a bit of money being in the car an extra 10 minutes.”
Originally published as Sydney’s most sought after beaches: the coastal suburbs rising in popularity during Covid