Spotlight On Newtown

November 4th, 2022 - by Brad Gillespie

Famous for its artistic atmosphere and inclusive attitude, Newtown is home to some of Sydney’s best drinking and dining, eclectic shopping and character-filled homes.

Who lives in Newtown?

Data from the 2021 Census helps us paint an up-to-date picture of the Newtown community. The median age of a Newtown local is 34, slightly younger than the NSW median of 39. A typical Newtown household has 2.1 bedrooms for its 2.1 residents, who own 0.9 motor vehicles between them. With its own train station and plenty of bus options, a car is not a must-have in Newtown.

Freestanding homes are the outliers here, comprising only 5% of the local housing stock. More common are semis, terraces and townhouses (52%) and apartments (39.8%).

The suburb is only a hop, skip and a jump away from the University of Sydney and the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), so it’s no surprise that 41% of Newtown residents are university students. It’s popular with professional singles, couples and young families, too. It’s also a haven for property investors, given that 57.6% of its inhabitants are renters.

What do the locals love about Newtown?

Its rich history and heritage

Newtown is part of the land traditionally belonging to the Gadigal people of the Eora nation.

In the early 1800s, British settlers built country villas, gardens and orchards in the Newtown area. Less than a hundred years later, those blocks were being subdivided and developed, and by 1870, many Newtown residents lived in ‘two-up two-down’ terrace houses. Many of these Victorian-era houses, with their iron lace balconies, painted facades and moulded architectural ornaments, remain today, lending Newtown an air of charm and character.

These terraces and row houses were home to the people who worked in the factories and warehouses that had sprung up around the area, including the Eveleigh railway workshops, the St Peters brickworks and the IXL jam and preserves factory. Newtown’s King Street had become a bustling retail strip and was one of Sydney’s first major shopping areas outside the city. Today it is one of the best-preserved Victorian-era high streets in Sydney and is home to some of the city’s best-loved bookshops, vintage fashion boutiques and antique stores.

Its vibrant food and drink scene

Newtown is home to an eclectic mix of small bars, cafes, restaurants and craft breweries predominantly clustered around King Street, Australia Street and Enmore Road. Bella Brutta serves some of Sydney’s best pizza, while Continental Deli Bar and Bistro is famous for its canned cocktails like the Mar-Tinny. Nordic European bistro Café Paci is a favourite with foodies, and spots like Young Henrys Brewery and Distillery and Mary’s have become local institutions. Newtown’s vibrant nightlife received a boost recently with the news that the suburb’s first 4am licence in more than a century has been granted to a bar set to open in an as-yet undisclosed basement near the train station.

Its character and vibe

In the 60s and 70s, Newtown’s post-war population (comprised mainly of working-class families and European migrants) prospered and, as they did, they often moved to other suburbs to build larger houses for their growing families. This meant a good supply of Newtown’s comparatively cheap terraces and cottages became available for rent, and with Sydney Uni just down the road, students began to move in. The area became a hotspot of sharehouses, drawing in young people, the LGBTQIA+ community, artists, writers, musicians and hippies, and its reputation as an inclusive bohemian hub was forged.

While the suburb might be more upscale today, locals still love Newtown’s arty vibe, quirky appeal and welcoming atmosphere. These days the suburb’s artistic bent is literally splashed across its walls in the form of street art. The 1991 ‘I Have a Dream’ mural by artists Juilee Pryor and Andrew Aiken on King Street is such an icon that it has been heritage listed. Lennox Street, Mary Street and Bedford Street are all worth a visit to check out the latest street art. Newtown is also home to beloved performing arts venues (and a highly regarded Performing Arts High School), including the New Theatre and nearby Enmore Theatre.

Newtown property market update

Newtown’s property market is proving to be one of Sydney’s more resilient, with both median house and unit prices holding their value over the last 12 months. After rising by 4.2% over the previous year, Newtown’s median house price sits at $1,732,500 as of October 2022. Its median unit price, meanwhile, has added 0.1% in the last twelve months to now sit at $745,500 - a solid achievement in a declining property market.

With such a large rental population, Newtown is always in the sights of canny property investors. Houses rent for $790 per week and return an annual rental yield of 2.4%, while units lease for $480 with a rental yield of 3.6%.

Recent listings

34 Munni Street, Newtown is not what you’d expect from a Newtown home. With 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms set behind an architecturally designed modern facade, this is LA Modern meets Newtown with chic mid-century accents, on a highly sought-after street.

Are you thinking of buying or selling in vibrant Newtown? Have a chat with our team today.