Who’s Buying And Who’s Selling In The Inner City And Inner West?

March 4th, 2022 - by Brad Gillespie

The increase in city dwellers making sea and tree changes over the last two years has made headlines.

But while some people are making the move to regional areas, others are flocking to the inner city and inner west. We take a look at where inner city and inner west buyers and sellers are coming from and going to.

Who’s selling in the inner city and inner west, and where are they going?

When COVID arrived on our shores two years ago, some city-dwellers took advantage of new remote working arrangements and upped sticks for the coast or the country. Two years on, people are still moving to regional areas at higher rates than before the pandemic, and many of them are departing from Sydney. CBA’s Regional Movers Index reports that 53 per cent of all people leaving Australian capital cities in 2021 were moving out of Sydney.

So, who’s leaving Sydney? Data from the ABS shows that of the 81,301 people who moved out of Sydney between January 2020 and March 2021, 33,192 – or 40.8% - were aged between 25 and 44 years old. The next largest group was the 45- to 64-year-olds, who made up 20.8% of the people who moved out of Sydney. This matches what we've observed here in the inner west and inner city. When we meet people selling up to move to a regional area, it's often people over 50 or families.

Who’s buying in the inner city and inner west, and where are they coming from?

Of course, while some people are selling up and moving out, others are relocating from one inner west or inner-city home to another or moving into the area for the first time.

Exclusive data from Domain shows that of the people looking to buy in Erskineville, 69% currently live outside the area, while around a third, or 31%, already live in the inner west. The largest group of out-of-area buyers come from the eastern suburbs (34.3%), followed by Sydney city (9.6%), the lower north shore (7.6%), St George (3.1%) and the northern suburbs (2.1%). Some Erskineville buyers already reside in the inner west, with 7.1% of them Erko locals, while 4.6% live in Enmore and Newtown, 2.1% in Forest Lodge and Glebe, 1.7% in Camperdown and 1.5% in Marrickville.

Just who is buying in the inner west? Most (63%) people living in the inner west with the intent to buy a home are aged between 25 and 39, according to exclusive data from REA Group. A further 19% are 40 to 54 years old, while 13% are 18 to 24 years old and 5% are aged 55 or over. They’re split quite evenly between men (48%) and women (52%). Interestingly, 38% of them are young families, and 23% are couples. Singles, couples and young families alike value the lifestyle the inner west and inner city offer, with their proximity to the city, excellent transport links and the huge range of cultural and lifestyle amenities, such as great cafes and restaurants, pubs and bars, art and music venues, green spaces and gorgeous architecture.

What are they buying?

The younger cohort buying in the inner city and inner west are often – but not always - in the earlier stages of their property journey. These areas are home to a range of housing, including apartments both large and small, some of them brand new, as well as charming terraces, worker’s cottages and refurbished industrial buildings.

Unlike in many areas of Sydney, first home buyers can still secure an apartment for $800,000 or less in the inner west. The cap for the federal government’s first home loan deposit scheme, which helps buyers purchase a home with a 5 per cent deposit without the need for lender's mortgage insurance, was raised from $700,000 to $800,000 last year.

The median price for a unit in Marrickville comes in at $795,000, with prices in Leichhardt ($775,250), Petersham ($770,000) and Newtown ($750,000) also coming in under budget. Apartments in Alexandria aren’t far off, either, with a median of $815,000.

Upgrading from a unit to a house is often the next move buyers make on their property journey, but it’s become more difficult than ever. In Sydney, the price difference between unit median and house median prices rose to $799,000 in December 2021, from $400,000 just two years earlier. New data from Domain, however, shows that Erskineville is one of the easiest suburbs in Sydney in which to upsize from a unit to a house. The median price for an Erskineville house is $1.69 million, while the unit median is $987,000, a difference of $703,000 or 71.2%. To put that figure into context, in some Sydney suburbs, the difference between unit and house median prices ranges from 100% to 400%.

The inner city and inner west are amongst Sydney’s most vibrant and liveable areas. If you’re thinking of buying here, get in touch with our team today.