What Can You Buy For Under $800k In Sydney’s Inner City And Inner West?

June 16th, 2023 - by Brad Gillespie

A lot of first-home buyers have $800k etched in their minds because it is a crucial cap for some of the key grants and schemes that can help them onto the property ladder.

If you’re one of them, what could you actually buy for under $800k in Sydney’s inner city and inner west?

The magic number: Why $800,000 matters to first home buyers

Despite property prices rising dramatically over the past five years, lending commitments to first-home buyers has increased over that time. AIHW quotes ABS data that reveals a rise from around 81,650 first-time owner-occupier commitments in the 12 months to May 2017 compared to 138,400 in the 12 months to May 2022.

For many of these first-home buyers based in New South Wales, $800,000 is often the maximum price they’re willing to pay for a property. That’s because it is the upper limit, or cap, for the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme (FHBAS).

Read more about buying your first home in 2023.

Qualifying for a transfer duty exemption or concession

Eligible first-home buyers receive access to a concessional rate of transfer duty if the property is under $800k and an exemption if the property is under $650k. Unlike the First Home Owner Grant, the FHBAS applies to both new and existing homes.

Given that transfer duty (also known as stamp duty) is one of the biggest challenges for first-time buyers, this scheme can make a huge difference. For instance, the transfer payable on a home worth $700,000 is usually $26,590. For those who qualify for the FHBAS, this falls to just $10,363

Right now, a separate scheme, First Home Buyer Choice, also allows eligible first home buyers to pay an annual tax, instead of a lump sum, for properties up to $1.5 million. Under this scheme, a first home buyer could elect to pay no transfer duty and instead be subject to an annual property tax (this would be $1,969 for the same $700,000 property).

The First Home Buyer Choice Scheme may, however, be short-lived if the new state government follows through on proposed changes.

Buying off-the-plan or new properties in Sydney’s inner city and inner west

The NSW First Home Owner Grant is separate from the transfer duty exemption or concession. It offers eligible buyers $10k if they buy a new property valued under $600,000.

The good news is that there are plenty of new developments in our area, from Chippendale, Camperdown and Green Square to Redfern, Waterloo, Alexandria and Erskineville. That means, if you’re prepared to buy new or off-the-plan, you may qualify for an extra $10k to put toward the price of the property, so long as its value falls under the $600,000 cap.

How realistic is it to find a property under $800k in Sydney’s inner city and inner west?

According to CoreLogic, the overall Sydney median sits at over a million dollars, or exactly $1,052,810, as of June 2023. But the good news is that this is just the median.

There are plenty of great properties under the $1 million mark and even under $800k or $600k.

The reality is, however, that you’ll need to be open to apartment living if you want to make the inner city or inner west your home. Houses often sell for around double this amount.

For under $800k, you can buy a good studio, one-bedroom or sometimes a one-bedroom plus study or two-bedroom apartment in many suburbs throughout the inner city and inner west.

Here’s a breakdown of the median values for one- and two-bedroom in some of the suburbs in Sydney’s inner city and inner west. We’ve also included medians slightly above 800k because, again, it is just a median, and you will find properties for sale under this amount.

Suburb Median value one-bedroom apartment Median value two-bedroom apartment
Alexandria $680,000 $950,000
Waterloo $660,000 $920,000
Chippendale $623,000 $1,100,000
Camperdown $740,000 $1,080,000
Erskineville $705,000 $1,065,000
Redfern $715,000 $1,127,000
Rosebery $623,000 $860,000
Newtown $640,000 $931,000
Marrickville $596,000 $814,000

* Source: Domain suburb profiles, accessed 1 June 2023

So, which suburbs are best for first-home buyers looking under $800k?

If we take the table above as our guide, first-home buyers will be able to find properties under $800k in all of these suburbs. However, they will have the widest range of properties to choose from in suburbs with lower median prices.

Our top picks for first-home buyers include Alexandria, Waterloo, Rosebery, Newtown and Marrickville.

While first-home buyers are attracted to the grants and schemes on offer, they’re by no means the only demographic interested in this entry-level price point. They’ll often be competing with investors who see the value in being in such a great location with good rental appeal, as well as those from out of town looking for a city crash pad or parents seeking accommodation for their kids studying at the nearby universities.

Recent sales under $800k

We’ve sold some great apartments recently for less than $800,000, with a pretty big range of price points.

7/62 Victoria Street, Beaconsfield, is a cleverly-designed one-bedroom apartment in a light and bright warehouse conversion with a mezzanine living area and versatile floorplan. It’s going to be auctioned on 1 July 2023 with a guide of $675,000.

210/8 Boundary Street, Alexandria, offers one bedroom, bathroom and lock-up storage and is located in “The Alex” building. With over 67 square metres on title and a leafy parkside outlook, it sold for $720,000 in February 2023.

314/17 Joynton Avenue, Zetland, is a split-level one-bedroom plus study apartment in The Emerald, offering 74 square metres and two balconies. It sold for $700,000 in March 2023.

1407/8 Kingsborough Way, Zetland, is a North-facing, sleek designer apartment with one bedroom and a home office just 400 metres from Green Square. It sold for $710,000 in February 2023.

12/44-52 Vine Street, Darlington, offers one bedroom and one bathroom, plus an entertainer’s kitchen and parking in a great location close to Sydney University. It sold for $610,000 in February 2023.

8/1A Gowrie Street, Newtown, is a stunning one-bedroom New York-style loft retreat in a boutique warehouse conversion situated in the heart of Newtown. It sold for $846,000 in February 2023.

Looking for an affordable home in Sydney’s inner city?

Get in touch with me today to find an apartment to suit your needs.