What Do Suburb Records Mean for Buyers and Sellers?

October 13th, 2023 - by Brad Gillespie

Record-breaking sales make good headlines, but what do suburb records really mean for buyers and sellers?

We find out what a suburb record is, how it compares to a median price, and what suburb records can reveal about the state of Sydney’s inner-west property market.

Suburb records vs median prices

A suburb record is the highest price achieved for a property in a particular suburb to date. The type of homes that achieve suburb record prices are often exceptional, premium, one-of-a-kind properties. These homes tend to offer something that others in the area don’t, such as unique heritage, a designer renovation, large grounds or exclusive views.

While suburb records tell us what’s happening at the top end of the market, median house prices can be a useful indicator of a suburb’s house values across a range of properties. They are calculated by assembling a list of all the suburb’s recent sales and identifying the middle price of the range. Median price is different to the average price, which is the total value of all recent sales divided by the number of sales. Given that the average price is more easily swayed by a handful of unusually high or low sales, the median price is considered to be more accurate.

Which is more meaningful for buyers and sellers – suburb records or median prices?

Savvy buyers and sellers will keep an eye on both suburb records and median prices to get a fuller picture of an area’s property values. Suburb records are a valuable indicator of the state of the prestige housing market, and if you’re looking to buy or sell premium property, you’ll want to keep track of suburb records.

Meanwhile, while median prices can give an idea of a suburb’s property prices across a broader range of homes, they aren’t the be-all and end-all. They can be weighted by the type of sales that have occurred in an area recently (for example, if there were larger homes sold than smaller properties, the median price will skew higher) and are too blunt to reflect that properties in different parts of a single suburb (even opposite sides of the same street) might be valued differently.

While buyers and sellers should take both suburb records and median prices into account, it’s also worth delving deeper into more granular data. If you’re interested in buying or selling a two-bedroom renovated terrace in Alexandria, find out what similar properties have sold for recently. If a house in your street or an apartment in your building sets a new record for that street or building, it gives both you and potential buyers a guide as to what your property might be worth. Keeping an eye on what properties in your suburbs of interest are selling for, not just their price guides, is always a good idea, and building relationships with trusted real estate agents (who have access to plenty of property market data) can help, too.

Suburb Current Suburb Record Median House Price October 2023
Alexandria $4,160,000 $1,855,000
Erskineville $4,200,000 $1,760,000
Waterloo $2,570,000 $1,645,000
Newtown $13,500,000 $1,750,000
Surry Hills $11,500,000 $2,000,000

Suburb record case study: Newtown

Because the type of property that sets a new suburb record price is so unique, occasionally, we see the same property achieving a record price more than once. That’s the case with 198-200 Australia Street, Newtown, which we co-listed with Ben Collier of The Agency. This Newtown landmark known as ‘The Bakery’ is an exquisitely designed warehouse conversion complete with five bedrooms, an internal garden, a heated saltwater pool and garaging for four vehicles. We set a Newtown suburb record when we sold this home recently for $13.5 million, surpassing the suburb record we achieved last time we sold the property three years ago in September 2020 for $5.8 million.

This incredible result, which beats the suburb records for surrounding areas, including Alexandria, Erskineville, Surry Hills, Glebe, Annandale, Balmain, Beaconsfield and Waterloo, speaks volumes about the strength of Sydney’s prestige market. Unlike the broader market, this segment tends to be less influenced by interest rates (many prestige purchases are cash transactions) and more likely to be driven by general economic confidence. New data from Frank Knight reveals that in Q2 2023, Sydney saw its highest volume of premium sales in more than a year, with the number of sales up 46% year-on-year. Demand is being driven by interest from both domestic and overseas buyers and being stoked by a limited supply of prestige properties for sale, a situation that is forecast to continue.

But it’s not just prestige buyers and sellers who can glean insights from the sale of 198-200 Australia Street. The record-breaking results also reflect the state of the wider inner-west property market. House prices across our area have seen healthy growth over the last three years. From September 2020 to September 2023, the median house price in Newtown grew by 24.1%, from $1,410,000 to $1,750,000. It’s a similar story in Erskineville, where the median house price is up 24.8% over the same period, while in Waterloo, it has risen by a whopping 43%. Unit median prices have also increased across Sydney’s inner city and inner west in the last three years, rising 20% in Alexandria, 4.7% in Erskineville and 4.6% in Waterloo.

Thinking of buying, selling or investing in Sydney’s inner city or inner west? Get in touch with my team today.