The Changing Face Of Erskineville

May 25th, 2023 - by Brad Gillespie

In April, Erskineville topped the list of the most socio-economically advantaged postcodes in Australia from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

We took a look at the story behind the data.

The data

The ABS based its list on data taken from the most recent 2021 Census.

It revealed that 42 of the top 50 suburbs for socioeconomic advantage are in Sydney. Erskineville topped the list, beating other blue-chip North Shore and eastern suburbs that made the top 10, including Northbridge, Bellevue Hill, Seaforth, Woollahra, Pymble, Vaucluse, Bronte, Moore Park and Roseville.

The Herald reports that the: “indexes of advantage and disadvantage are based on 23 variables, with the most weight given to income level, type of occupation, employment status and educational attainment”.

The ABS says that “socio-economic factors can be very different across areas, even if they’re close together”, which explains the fact that Erskinville is top of the list, while nearby Waterloo, Redfern and Marrickville are all notable for having the greatest difference between the most and least advantaged living there.

The evolution of a suburb

In revealing the news, even the Sydney Morning Herald raised an eyebrow, writing:

“Erskineville, the small inner-west suburb wedged between bohemian Newtown and the once-industrial area of Alexandria, has emerged as the surprise winner of Australia’s top-ranked postcode, based on a mix of household income, occupation and education measures.”

So why is the ranking surprising? Historically, Erskineville was never a wealthy suburb.

For over a century, Eskineville was solidly working-class, a fact that is reflected in the architecture of the homes we sell. Much of the population worked in local industries, such as the railway, and lived nearby in small workers' cottages, terraces or semis.

During the early 1900s, when inner city living conditions were associated with slums and cramped, unhealthy conditions, wealthier people moved out to seek space and better conditions in the suburbs of the outer west, south, North Shore and eastern suburbs.

But, in the 1970s, Erskineville factories began closing or relocating further afield and the double-edged sword of gentrification began to sweep across Sydney’s inner city.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle was quoted as saying Erskineville’s “location to the city, which used to be a disadvantage because that’s where the tenement homes were, has turned out to be a great advantage.”

Its small older houses have been renovated, urban regeneration has replaced industry with newer residential housing and the transport links remain fabulous. Cafes, restaurants and shops have moved in, and the demographics, employment, incomes and lifestyle of people in our area have changed as a result. There’s more infrastructure and amenities in the pipeline too. This all combines to mean the whole inner city and inner west is a far more affluent place than it once was.

The changing demographics alter the property market

The 2021 Census revealed how our core area of Alexandria and Erskineville had changed over time.

These suburbs now enjoy a median weekly personal income that’s twice the state or national average. Our family and household income also far exceeded the NSW and Australian averages too. In fact, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Erskineville/Alexandria “had the third-highest median personal income in Sydney at $1669 a week” and said that the area’s amenities, location and new housing developments were a “magnet” for well-paid workers.

Comparing the 2021 Census with the two previous ones (2016 and 2011), also shows the size of Erskineville’s mortgages has increased along with salaries, and so have both the population and the number of residential properties in the area.

Changing demographics and regeneration in our area mean our property market has experienced a lot of changes too.

Late last year, we wrote about this same phenomenon occurring in Alexandria, where property prices grew a staggering 1,200% over 30 years, more than double the city-wide growth of 550%.

A lot has changed throughout our city in over the past three decades, which roughly correlates with the period of time I’ve been selling real estate in this area.

Snapshot: The Erskineville property market today

At just six kilometres to the CBD, with great train and transport connections, and a walkable lifestyle, Erskineville’s location is a major drawcard.

Erskineville also epitomises the coveted village lifestyle many people aspire to, with a selection of cafes, restaurants, pubs, local shops, and a much-loved school and oval at its heart.

Erskineville’s streetscape retains its heritage charm but is interspersed with a wide variety of modern developments, vibrant street art and great parks.

The data

As we wrote in our last market update, the median house price in Erskineville is now $1,601,500. In 2018, it was $1,360,000, according to That represents growth of 17.75% over just five years. Units currently sell for a median of $900,000.

Right now, rental yields on houses are 3%, with rents rising 7.6% over the last year to reach $950 per week in May 2023. Apartment rents have risen 15.8% in the past 12 months to reach $695 a week, generating a healthy median yield of 4.6%.

Want more?

If you’re looking to buy or sell in Erskineville or Sydney’s Inner City and Inner West, contact my team today.