How To Upsize In Inner City Sydney

April 9th, 2018 - by Brad Gillespie

If you own property in inner city Sydney but want something bigger, it can be a challenge.

From families and empty-nesters, to young professionals and investors, everyone wants to get into this area.

But upsizing doesn't necessarily mean giving up your beloved neighbourhood and moving further out.

So what if you already find yourself in suburbs like Erskineville and Alexandria, but crave want more space? There are several ways you can upsize in the inner city.


Rather than looking to upsize by moving house, many home owners look to stay put, in the area they love, and add extra space through a renovation. The classic two-up-two-down Erskineville terrace, or Alexandria cottage, can often squeeze an attic conversion into the roof space with a master and ensuite. And knocking through a few internal walls can give a cramped property a whole new spacious open-plan feel.

These changes can often add value to a property, and increased its short-term livability for a growing family, but they won’t solve the bigger problem of land area.

Buy a larger house in inner city Sydney

It’s the most obvious option out there - buying something bigger. While this won't fit into everyone's budget, the inner city property market is thriving, with several new developments arriving in 2018 and 2019.

While inner Sydney remains healthy, Sydney real estate experts predict property prices will pull back by up to 10% in the next 12-18 months, and median property prices are already 2.2% below the market's peak in August 2017, so it’s not a bad time to upsize. Watching the market for the best time to swoop on a deal can be tricky, so having reliable real estate agents who know the inner city Sydney area are a must. This is especially vital if you plan on using your current property as leverage to buy your next home.

While the average three-bedroom property in Alexandria goes for over $1.7 million, next-door in Erskineville, they come in closer to $1.48 million.

This two-bedroom courtyard apartment in Erskineville sold for under $1 million! And with growth stabilising, it’s not a bad time to upsize and get a better deal on an inner city property.

In Alexandria, the starting point for a house with four bedrooms will be from around $2 million, while in Erskineville, it's upwards of $1.5 million, according to Domain.

The problem with larger properties in the inner city can often be supply: In suburbs known for units, workers cottages and small terraces, there are not enough large houses to fill demand from those wanting to upsize.

Consider the suburb next-door

If your budget makes staying in your inner city Sydney neighbourhood difficult, consider moving one or two suburbs over. Residents in Alexandria, for example, might find a spacious new home in nearby Marrickville or Rosebery, both bustling neighbourhoods with cool cafes and good public transport networks.

And nearby Botany has more large homes on larger blocks, like this 4 bedder we recently sold.

Take a property journey: Upsize your inner city property gradually

Do you have a baby on the way, a start-up business to run from home, or are you just craving a spare room to play with? Seeing your upsize as a journey, and working towards slowly moving to a more accommodating space is another way to stay in your desired inner city Sydney neighbourhood without breaking the bank.

For instance, instead of dreaming about two-bedroom houses, why not consider a unit of the same size? In Alexandria, the median price for a two-bedroom unit is $915,000, according to Domain, compared to $1.5 million for a house of the same make-up. The same units in neighbouring Erskineville real estate inch higher to an average of $959,000, while two-bedroom homes sell for around $1.34 million. While you’ll lose the outdoor space a house generally provides, many units are open plan, easy to live in, and offer great low-maintenance living.

Be patient

Does your cramped inner city property have you and your partner, family or pets living on top of each other? If you're willing to make improvements to a property, and have the patience to wait until a great property comes onto the market, there are amazing opportunities to upsize in inner city Sydney.

Large older properties with great potential do come onto the market, and if you have the budget and energy for a large scale renovation project they can represent a great opportunity.

And sometimes a unique opportunity comes along. Take this rare find in Rosebery, for example; three bedrooms, 1 bathroom, on a 1,081 square metre lot. Sure, it's not a brand new apartment, but it's a real home, with a proper backyard, and sets you up for long-term success in inner city Sydney.