You know you want to purchase a property in the Inner West but with so much variety, where do you begin? Licensed buyers agent and expert in Sydney real estate Nick Viner of Buyers Domain offers his insights, formed over ten years of experience in dealing with Inner West buyers, into the key features buyers should look for when buying a property in the area.
The Inner West is one of Sydney’s most appealing areas in which to live. Centrally located, it offers a metropolitan lifestyle, warm community spirit and convenient transport options like no other part of the city.
Properties in the Inner West cover an array of types and eras and include semis, warehouse conversions, Californian bungalows, weatherboard workers’ cottages, Gothic-inspired mansions, Victorian, Edwardian, Italianate and Art Deco styles.
Before buying a property in the Inner West, make sure you are familiar with the ins and outs of the area. When it comes to buying the right property, my experience dealing with Inner West buyers over the past ten years affirms that the most important attributes of a property in the area are:
1. Location – overall: You will see that I have cheated slightly and run with the age-old cliché, ‘location, location, location’ for my top three attributes because this is no less a crucial feature of property selection in the Inner West.
From the western CBD fringes of Glebe, Forest Lodge and the Balmain Peninsula as far out as Strathfield and Homebush, there is an eclectic range of suburbs to suit all tastes.
The notorious Parramatta Road divides the Inner West into two slightly different groups: those who relish being closer to the water and coastal breezes north of Parramatta Road, whether that be from Rozelle to Russell Lea or from Birchgrove to Breakfast Point, and those south of Parramatta Road who prefer to be close to the train line from Newtown to Strathfield via Ashfield or from Erskineville to Canterbury via Dulwich Hill. Size of property and budget will generally dictate how far out of the CBD you will be looking.
2. Location – positives: Proximity to good schools, transport options, hospitals, shops and other amenities can massively impact upon the value of a property. As far as regions go, the Inner West is not a huge area but nonetheless, there are public transport dead spots and pockets that are more remote than others. Great, if you love peace and quiet, but not so great if you are looking for strong capital growth and resale potential.
A good position within a suburb is also very important. North-facing blocks on the high side of a quiet street near a park or other open spaces are generally hard to beat.
3. Location – negatives: Unlike the lower North Shore and Eastern Suburbs, the Inner West is unfortunately blighted by a few negatives and these are worth bearing in mind when you choose the right property.
There is the flight path that might be directly above you, a number of definite no-go arterial roads that you don’t want to be anywhere near, the tunnels and smoke stacks associated with WestConnex and the Western Harbour Tunnel. These are all factors likely to affect capital growth and impact upon your investment choice.
4. Character: From cute weatherboard cottages in Birchgrove to grand Federation houses in Haberfield, from rows of terraces in Newtown to detached Victorian mansions in Burwood, buyers flock to the Inner West because of the character of the properties and the heritage appeal of the suburbs.
This is probably why the ugly ducklings of the 1970s and 1980s as well as more modern characterless homes generally don’t sell well in the Inner West. If you’re looking for value for money or a project, go for something without character. Otherwise, stick with character and you’ll find it easier to sell down the track.
5. Parking: With the growing number of people in the area and cars on the streets, parking is at an absolute premium. If you can, focus on finding a property with parking. Even if the property does not come with parking, make sure there is plentiful on-street parking in the neighbouring streets and check any council restrictions or parking permit requirements.
If you are considering buying a property in the Inner West, give Buyers Domain a call today on 9568 6330. Based in Leichhardt, we are the buyers’ agents for the Inner West and know the area intimately.
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