John McGrath's suburb picks

byJohn McGrath

In our most recent McGrath Report, I outlined my suburb picks for 2014 in the various markets that McGrath currently operates in, including Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Regional NSW and the Gold Coast.

Here are my picks where I believe there are some great buying opportunities and potential for capital growth and the reasons why I’ve chosen them.


Camperdown/Newtown/Erskineville:On the doorstep of the CBD and home to the coolest retail strip in Sydney at King Street, the local university community will benefit from strong Chinese buyer demand. And you can still afford a small workers’ cottage on a mortal’s salary!

Kensington/Randwick:Close to the university, this is an undervalued parkside village only 7 minutes to the CBD. Will benefit substantially from the new light rail planned to start soon. 

Willoughby/Artarmon:One of my favourites over the past few years. Leafy, safe and family friendly; also far less expensive than their Lower North Shore neighbours.

Marrickville/Dulwich Hill/Petersham/Enmore:This is the sweet spot for young families and professional couples who like what Paddington buyers want at half the price. With loads of trendy eateries popping up, it is also set to benefit enormously from the Inner West Light Rail extension. 

Brighton-Le-Sands/Sans Souci/Dolls Point:Close to the CBD and airport but without the larger inner city price tags, these bayside suburbs offer a convenient, family-friendly environment. Dolls Point offers amazing value for money with two bedroom apartments by the park and bay selling for around $500,000.

Castle Hill/Kellyville/Rouse Hill:Offers larger blocks and bigger houses than the inner city for far less money. Bustling Rouse Hill town centre has a great shopping village and wait til you see what the new North West rail link will do to property values! 


Cannon Hill:This suburb offers great value with access to the same facilities as the more expensive Bulimba and Hawthorne. Small cottages start in the $500,000s with large Queenslanders under $1M.

Chermside and surrounding northern suburbs:People are showing a willingness to go further north of the city for newer properties and better value for money. Chermside is popular, offering new townhouses and some of Brisbane’s best shopping facilities.

Highgate Hill: Just 4.5 km from the CBD with access to the cafes, restaurants and the entertainment precinct of West End and Southbank, Highgate Hill is attracting more families and professionals. Good variety of housing from unrenovated Queenslanders to new apartments and developments.

Kenmore:Great family area and just outside your traditional inner city suburbs, making it very affordable for families and first home buyers. Very popular amongst renovators looking for properties on larger blocks of land.

Toowong:Toowong has a very broad range of properties suitable for young first home buyers and investors through to families and executives. A $2M house in Paddington will cost just $1.4M in Toowong and the suburb is set to directly benefit from the new Legacy Way motorway.


Crace:The last block of land in this brand new suburb was sold in July 2013. Crace has about 2,000 lots and half have been developed. Great infrastructure including a new school and shops make it very appealing. Prices range from low $300,000s up to $1.2M.

Harrison:Harrison is about five years old with a rare variety of architecture, unlike many other new suburbs. It has great infrastructure including two schools and is conveniently close to Gungahlin. It suits second and third home buyers in the $550,000 to $850,000 range.

Kambah:The largest suburb in Canberra with 5,000 homes ranging from $250,000 townhouses and apartments through to prestige property around $1.5M. The new super school built last year has attracted family buyers. A good value alternative to Woden and Western Creek.

NSW regional

Kiama:Surrounded by ocean and large farm holdings, the council is strict on development so there is little room for new housing stock. We have noticed a trend in people preferring the South Coast to the more commercial Central Coast and this bodes well for future growth. The new highway from Wollongong through Kiama will open the market up further to Sydney buyers.

Shelly Beach:One of the few suburbs where you can live one street from the beach and still be close to town. A lot of older properties are being redeveloped by younger buyers, with older stock selling in the $300,000s to $500,000s.

Wentworth Falls:The highway widening project continues, with Wentworth Falls set to benefit first due to its closer proximity to Sydney compared with Leura and Katoomba. People love the village lifestyle and it has the only private school in the mountains, as well as a TAFE college.

Gold Coast

Hope Island:Hope Island has been one of the most heavily discounted areas on the Gold Coast. It offers great value for money and a fantastic lifestyle, with the extra security of being a gated community.

Isle of Capri:Buyers are responding to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure waterfront property below $1M. Meantime, the prestige end is firing with several sales above $3M in 2013. The redevelopment of the local shopping centre will further entice buyers.

Palm Beach:After several years of gentrification, many renovated properties are now hitting the market and attracting upgraders from within the suburb. The local café scene continues to attract young couples and families.

Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Date posted: 2013-11-19 | posted by: mydep

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