Sydney's Northern Beaches Waterfront Market

With the sun now set on 2021, let’s pause for a moment and take a look at what’s been happening in the prime waterfront property market in the Northern Beaches. Demand is widely outstripping supply and properties are being snapped up for record-breaking prices.

In the space of ten days in November buyers paid record prices along the Northern Beaches. Around $17 million was reportedly spent on a designer home in Seaforth – a new record for the suburb (the previous record with $4 million); meanwhile locals spent $8.65 million on an architect designed house in North Curl Curl – the second highest sale in the suburb; and Fisher St in Balgowlah Heights saw its street record broken not once but twice.

In September at least seven prestige properties changed hands including a well-known oceanfront house at 339 Whale Beach Rd in Palm Beach that was snapped up in just eight days for a record-breaking $12m. The three bedroom Art Deco-style white house is on the most easterly point of Palm Beach and Whale Beach and has uninterrupted views up and down the coast. The property is something of a landmark for sailors with its distinctive style, white exterior and clifftop position.

Other big sales included 3 Canara Plat $6.38 million, 869 Barrenjoey Rd for $5.9 million and 1a Iluka Rd which sold for $5.2 million.

Waterfront suburbs like Avalon, Balgowlah Heights, Bayview, Bilgola, Church Point, Clareville, Clontarf, Coasters Retreat, Collaroy, Cottage Point, Curl Curl, Dee Why, Elvina Bay, Fairlight, Freshwater, Great Mackerel Beach, Killarney Heights, Lovett Bay, Manly, Mona Vale, Morning Bay, Narrabeen, Newport, North Curl Curl, North Manly, Palm Beach, Queenscliff, Scotland Island, Seaforth, and Whale Beach have all been enjoying incredible price growth.

The demographic of buyers is shifting, so too the length of time it takes to bring a sale to fruition.

For example, it ordinarily takes an average of 100 days to sell property in Palm Beach, but in this market residences are trading on average in 22 days.

Traditional prestige property purchasers on the Northern Beaches’ waterfront market are looking for a holiday home but with working from home now more commonplace instead of 80 per cent of the market being driven by weekender buyers, they now make up about 50 per cent of the buyer pool with residents increasing in prevalence.

And this trend is being echoed in prime locations around the world. Why?

The pandemic has a lot to answer for. Much of the demand in 2021 has been particularly driven by Covid-19, which has reinforced how desirable waterside living is. Many people have reevaluated their lives during repeated lengthy lockdowns, with buyers focusing on quality of life, open space and natural living.

56% of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) are more likely to buy a house in a resort or coastal area due to Covid-19, according to The Knight Frank Waterfront View 2021 Property Market Review. The Knight Frank Wealth Report Attitudes Survey found these areas were very clearly the most popular locations across the globe.

The Knight Frank Property Market Review also reported strong demand from investors and second-home buyers looking for waterfront properties around the world. For example, the proportion of waterfront properties purchased as second homes outside London was at a 13-year high in the year to March 2021 at 20%. In the year to March 2021, sales of waterfront properties purchased as second homes outside of London were up by 196% versus the five-year average.

Not only has demand boomed, but sellers have also had second thoughts, with fewer homes on the market. The enduring appeal of waterfront properties persists around the world, including the US, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean and the UK. And Sydney is no different.

Sydney’s Northern Beaches

The Sydney property market has flourished during the past year, with a standout performance from the Northern Beaches. Prices in the region have skyrocketed by 37% over the year*, with the rise in long-term home working giving the area a dramatic boost in appeal. No longer thought to be too far from the CBD, people can enjoy the beauty and lifestyle of the region, while happily commuting a couple of times a week if necessary. Transport into the city isn’t one of the top points on the wishlist, anymore.

And local high net worth buyers have been sitting up and taking notice. Buyers from the eastern suburbs can pick up a palatial beachfront home in the Northern Beaches for a fraction of the price – and they’ve been selling up and trading up.A growing number of people are now considering living permanently in the Northern Beaches for the first time. This, plus an increase in part-time residents and second homes, has driven unprecedented prices in the region.

From Manly to Palm Beach, people are snapping up prime real estate right along Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Buyers have money, and they’re not afraid to spend it on properties that will snag them that prized ocean view or waterfront lifestyle.

It’s no surprise that Sydney’s Northern Beaches are benefiting from the move towards longer term remote working and the renewed desire for waterfront properties. With unrivalled elevated views of the ocean, and plenty of secluded beaches and bays to enjoy sports and leisure activities, waterfront property here is in formidable demand, outperforming the rest of the city.

It will be interesting to see what the coming year brings for property prices and demand in the year ahead. Demand doesn’t look to be drying up any time soon, though the enormously elevated prices are less likely to continue into the next year. Let’s wait and see.

Duncan Schieb

m: 0498 221100

Knight Frank

Knight Frank Australia

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