antelope Archives | Daphne Sauvage

Darling Point In Colonial Times

By | Local News | No Comments

Colonial Darling Point was a far cry from the hustle and bustle of nearby Sydney town.

But right from the start, the suburb attracted some of the colony’s wealthiest and most influential people.

The early days

Although Europeans had been in Australia since the 1780s, they left Darling Point untouched for some time. The land – traditionally belonging to the Cadigal people – was steep and heavily wooded, and, coupled with its unstable shore, access was difficult. Construction of a new road in 1831 changed that, and the land was reserved for sale via public auction.

Initially named “Mrs Darling’s Point” (after Eliza Darling, wife of the NSW governor Ralph Darling), the area attracted much interest. The first allotments were sold to Elizabeth Pike, a hotel keeper, James Chisholm, a soldier and wine merchant, and businessmen Joseph Wyatt, Thomas Smith, James Holt, Thomas Barker and William MacDonald. The Colonial Astronomer James Dunlop was granted an allotment in 1835 on condition that he build a dwelling valued at £1500 on the land.

The land was a bargain at £10 an acre. The suburb’s appeal was obvious even in those days, with one letter-writer to The Australian calling it “the most beautiful and picturesque place on the margin of Port Jackson” and adding that the price “certainly ought not to have been less than £500 per acre”.

At the time, indigenous people still lived in the area, with a description of a corroboree included in a letter to The Sydney Monitor in 1837. The traditional owners called the area Yaranabe after a local leader.

Darling Point’s early residents

Colonial Darling Point attracted some of Sydney’s wealthiest citizens. The suburb was exclusive from the start, and it was believed that “Darlingpointians” had their own customs and manners. The homes they built were much envied in the colony, and a few still exist today.

Of those who bought the first allotments, Thomas Smith was the only one to build a home at Darling Point. His house, Glenrock, was built in 1836 after he’d already realised the value of Darling Point’s land and sold off some of his original holdings. While Glenrock still stands today as part of Ascham School, it’s a slightly newer version, with the original demolished and rebuilt in the 1870s by its later owner, parliamentarian John Marks.

Meanwhile, merchant and local government councillor Thomas Woolley built his home, Percyville, in 1841. When just three years later, the house was sold to Thomas Sutcliffe Mort, it formed the foundations of the much grander Greenoaks, now known as Bishopscourt, after being bought by the Anglican Church in 1910.

But the earliest Darling Point home you can still see – and visit – is Lindesay. This elegant Georgian home was built in 1834 by Colonial Treasurer Campbell Drummond Riddell and today hosts weddings and community functions.

What did colonial Darling Point look like?

The census states there were 709 people living at Darling Point by 1891. Contrast this with the 2021 census, where almost 4000 residents were recorded, and you get a sense that the area must have appeared sparse in comparison.

In colonial times there were fewer people still, and paintings give us a glimpse into what the new suburb might have looked like. One early work by Robert Russell shows a few modest buildings, washing hung out to dry, and three figures crouched on a basic dirt road. The watercolour, dated to 1835 and titled “Sketch at Mrs Darling’s Point”, possibly depicts either local indigenous people or some of the labourers who built the fledgling suburb’s new roads.

Another painting from 1846 shows Glenrock on an elevated ridge surrounded by bushland. Other early paintings depict Carthona (built-in 1841 by Sir Thomas Mitchell, Surveyor-General) and Lindesay, similarly surrounded by trees. While some of the colony’s grandest homes were being built here, it was clearly still dominated by the natural landscape.

For more local insights, call me today.

Photo credit: Wkimedia

5 Things To Expect From The Darling Point Property Market In 2023

By | Local News, Real Estate News | No Comments

The past couple of years have been good ones for the Darling Point property market.

Domain data shows that the median three-bedroom apartment in our suburb value grew 62.2% over 2020 and 2021, while the median two-bedroom apartment value grew 26.1%. But with interest rates at their highest level in a decade and cost of living pressures rising, can we expect the same growth to continue in 2023?

Here are my five trend forecasts for the coming 12 months.

1. The top of the market to overperform

While many of the banks are predicting double digit price drops across Sydney for 2023, the property market is made up of many sub-markets that don’t always follow the major trends.

Right across Sydney, prestige property has been the best-performing market segment over the past couple of years. Even as the broader Sydney property market declined by more than -10% in 2022, we were still seeing street and building records being set here in Darling Point.

While rising interest rates may have dampened enthusiasm across most of the property market, prestige buyers usually aren’t as impacted because they tend to buy cash. So demand for premium homes stayed strong throughout the year – both from local and overseas-based buyers. At the same time, very few top-end properties came to market, which meant demand was much higher than supply. This continued to push prices upwards throughout the year.

Given these same dynamics continue today, I don’t see the situation changing any time soon. As the suburb with the third most expensive median house price in the country supported by the recent sale of 3 Lindsay Avenue, Darling Point selling for approximately $60,000,000 expect our prestige market to stay strong right throughout 2023.

2. More stock to hit the market as the year progresses

Lack of stock wasn’t just an issue in the prestige market. Right across the board, fewer properties came to market over 2022 than any year I can remember. This is supported by listings data compiled by SQM Research, which shows there were just 54 properties listed for sale in Darling Point in October 2022 – 26% fewer than the previous year (and interestingly roughly half the number on offer a decade ago).

We never saw the traditional Spring rush of properties coming to market last year. Instead, a lot of people seemed to be sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the market to turn. We expect them to come out when the RBA stops raising interest rates (something likely to happen over 2023). At the same time, we expect buyer confidence to slowly return so that demand also rises to meet this increased supply.

The result should hopefully be growing property values – although I don’t expect to see the same runaway growth of 2020 and 2021. CoreLogic has predicted that the property market will bottom out in the first quarter of 2023, before a “swift recovery”.

3. Downsizers to drive the market

For some time, downsizers have been perhaps the single most important buyer segment in Darling Point – and for good reason. This isn’t just one of Sydney’s most beautiful suburbs, it’s also one of the most convenient – well-serviced by public transport and within walking distance to almost everything you’d ever need, including the Sydney Harbour foreshore, great parks, excellent cafes and restaurants, amazing views and more.

As more people reach a time in their lives when it makes sense to let go of the large backyard, I anticipate downsizers will be an equally dominant factor in our local property market over 2023. Any property with downsizer appeal – and that means single-level, private, well-located and spacious – is likely to outperform the market. This is reflected in the 30.6% growth that we saw in Darling Point’s three bedroom apartment market over the 12 months to December 2022.

4. Families to also be a factor

It won’t just be about downsizers in 2023, however. Increasingly, we’re seeing families with children buying into the Darling Point apartment market.

These families tend to fall into one of two categories. The first is couples who often bought into the suburb (or started renting) pre-children and are now looking to upsize without leaving the area. The second is often more established families who have given up the traditional home in the suburbs for the convenience of Darling Point life. These buyers tend to have children in the later stages of high school, and it also makes sense to move closer to their education.

Just like many downsizers, family buyers tend to favour larger three-bedroom – or even four-bedroom apartments. For this reason, I also expect growth in this part of the market to exceed the average this year. And this huge demand for larger apartments is helping drive the trend for apartment amalgamations.

5. Investors and first home buyers to drive prices upwards

Finally, I’ve noticed that the two groups that have been quietest over the past 12 months have been first home buyers and investors. These are the buyers who often feel the effects of interest rates most acutely and are, therefore, most likely to have been holding off as the RBA engaged in eight consecutive rate rises.

When interest rates do stabilise, I think we’ll see both buyer groups come back into the market.

The main reason for this is that rents have been growing so rapidly – especially over the second half of 2022. In fact, between July and December last year, the median rent in our suburb rose from $882 to $1,352, according to SQM Research – a rise of 53% in less than six months. Yields are sitting around 2.5%.

For investors, higher rents make for an attractive income source. For tenants, they tend to tip the scales in favour of entering the market and buying a home. As a result, I think we’ll also see both groups start to re-enter the market, which could mean growth in the entry-level market for apartments too. We already saw growth of 32.6% on one bedroom units in Darling Point over 2022.

In short, 2023 should be another strong year for our local property market despite today’s wider trend of declining prices and rising interest rates.

Want more?

If you’d like to know more about the Darling Point property market or if you need help buying or selling a home, get in touch.

Market Wrap: How Darling Point Fared Over 2022

By | Local News | No Comments

While 2022 has been a forgettable year for the Sydney property market, it’s been a different story in Darling Point.

There’s no doubt that the property news headlines have been gloomy. With the RBA announcing seven straight interest rate rises, buyers across the city became more circumspect and prices fell -10.2% between their January peak and 30 October.

The Darling Point apartment market, however, has been more resilient. While prices are slightly down since peaking in July, the median value remains 14.3% higher than 12 months ago, according to realestate.com.au data.

Meanwhile, Domain reveals that the median value of a two-bedroom apartment in Darling Point rose 20% over 2022 to $2.1 million. The median value of a one-bedroom apartment rose by 39.6%, taking it to $1.34 million. The median value of a three-bedroom apartment fell – 8.2% (after growing 70.4% in 2021).

All properties have seen a significant lift in values since the start of the pandemic, and buyers remain well ahead, regardless of any recent declines, as the table below shows.

Apartment size Median value Growth 2022 Growth 2021 Total
One-bedroom $1.34 million 39.6% -0.2% 39.4%
Two-bedroom $1.955 million 20% 6.1% 26.1%
Three-bedroom $4.35 million -8.2% 70.4% 62.2%

Prestige property sales stay strong

We’re finding that there is still incredible demand in the prestige market and that it is here at the top end that sales have been least affected by the broader slowdown. As a result, we saw several building records, street records and even suburb records set over 2022.

The main reason for this is that the market downturn is being driven by a decline in lending. ABS data shows that the number of new loans fell -18.5% in the year to September 2022, including -8.2% in September alone.

This lack of borrowing doesn’t impact the prestige market as much as the first-home buyer and entry-level property market. The general rule tends to be that the more expensive a property is, the less likely a buyer will rely on finance to purchase it.

In the prestige market, it isn’t usually interest rates that have the main impact on demand. This market segment tends to be more affected by factors such as the general health of the economy and share market, the amount of M&A activity happening, and even the value of the Australian Dollar. With the Dollar weaker than it has been, we saw increased activity from ex-pat buyers over 2022 in the prestige market. Many of these were Australians who live in cities such as New York, Singapore, Hong Kong or London and who want a base back home.

Downsizers remain a force

Downsizers were also out in big numbers over 2022 – and for good reason. More and more people see the value of trading in the family home in the suburbs for the convenience of an apartment, often relatively early in their lives – sometimes even while the kids are in the later years of high school. So, not only has this market segment changed, we’re drawing on a much bigger pool of buyers than we were even 10 years ago. There’s even a new term for some of these buyers: “active resizers”.

On top of this, we also see more Sydney-siders wanting to remain in apartments throughout their lives. As their children grow, they tend to upsize the size of their home rather than move to a house further from the city.

All of these buyers tend to demand more space and often look only for three- or four-bedroom properties. There are simply far too few quality apartments in Sydney to satisfy their demand.

What to expect in 2023

Given its status as one of Sydney’s blue-chip markets, Darling Point has proven incredibly resilient over 2022, despite wider slowdowns. We expect that it will continue to outperform the market in 2023.

At the top of the market, demand remains relatively strong, and supply is low. Elsewhere, we expect greater activity levels once interest rates stabilise and confidence returns. We also anticipate that investors, who have been notably absent from the market over the past couple of years, will begin to return, stimulating the entry level market of one and two bedroom apartments.

After all, in the rental market, vacancy rates are dropping – the Sydney-wide is now just 1.3% – and rents are rising. As a result, SQM Data shows the median yield for apartments in postcode 2027 is now a healthy 5.6%.

We think conditions are set for a good 2023, although we don’t expect the market to heat up to the point where we see prices across the board run away in the same way they did in 2021.

Want more?

If you’d like to know more about the Darling Point property market, or if you need help buying or selling a home, get in touch.

A Versatile Architect: Ken Woolley In Darling Point

By | Meet the Locals | No Comments

Ken Woolley was one of Australia’s most important architects.

Across the second half of the 20th century, he made his mark on Sydney through his many public buildings and home designs, including award-winning Darling Point designs.

Early life

Born in Sydney in 1933, Ken Woolley displayed artistic talent from an early age and was encouraged by his mother to pursue his creative skills.

After high school, he won a traineeship at the NSW Public Works Department and studied architecture at the University of Sydney. Woolley’s skill in drawing helped him win the University Medal and a travelling scholarship.

Woolley travelled to Europe and then headed back to Australia, where his designs began to make their mark on his hometown.

Iconic Sydney designs

While part of the NSW Government Architect’s Office in the 1960s, Woolley worked on one of his first large-scale projects, Fisher Library at the University of Sydney. The building’s undergraduate wing won the Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Sulman Award for Architectural Merit.

As the decades progressed and his reputation grew, Woolley turned his significant talent to designing many now well-known buildings: Ultimo’s ABC Radio and Orchestra Centre, the Park Hyatt Hotel at Campbell’s Cove, the Arc Glasshouse at the Botanic Gardens, the Convention Centre at Darling Harbour, the 2009 refurbishment of the QVB, and the Royal Agricultural Showground exhibition halls at Homebush Bay.

Residences by Ken Woolley

Woolley’s talents were not confined to large commissions. In 1962 his design for his own home in Mosman won the prestigious Wilkinson Award for a House of Outstanding Architectural Merit from the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA).

While other architects became known for a signature style, Woolley was recognised for the distinctiveness of each of his designs. This willingness to adapt served him well: his home designs acknowledged and worked with, rather than against, any restrictions such as steep, rocky terrain. Indeed, in an interview he once described the architect’s job as “puzzle solving”. This approach was wonderfully expressed in his Palm Beach house, which embraced the steep cliff face it was situated on.

He’s credited with being the founder of the “The Sydney School” style of architecture in houses. Woolley-designed homes can be found throughout the eastern suburbs – in Bellevue Hill, Double Bay and Paddington, and the landmark Pier Villas on New South Head Road.

Woolley in Darling Point

Woolley’s talent for working with a site is beautifully on display in his Darling Point designs, where his buildings take full advantage of the city and harbour views on offer.
His Darling Point designs include the Bay Terraces at 21 Yarranabbe Road, a neighbouring building at 25 Yarranabbe Rd, and The Point Villas in Thornton Street. All three buildings make the most of their harbourside position.

Then there’s The Penthouses – a veritable who’s who of art and design. Furniture designer and property developer Harry Sebel apparently commissioned Ken Woolley to design The Penthouses in 1967.

Situated at 58 New Beach Road, this fabulous Woolley building was created to maximise light, views and privacy. The building’s tiered design utilises the roof space of each townhouse as a terrace for the townhouse above. The concept would go on to be used across the city.

“On the world scene it was an important building,” Woolley once explained of The Penthouses, “because it was an expression of some of the principles of modern architecture and housing.”

The Penthouses won the Wilkinson Award in 1968, the first time a townhouse design was eligible for the award, which had previously been restricted to houses.

It was also photographed by Max Dupain (of “Sunbaker” fame) in 1969, and prints still circulate through fine art and photography dealers today.

Ken Woolley passed away in 2015 but his legacy lives on in so many of his amazing buildings, including in Darling Point.

Looking to buy or sell in Darling Point? Call me today.

24a/3 Darling Point Road

Market Report: Darling Point, October 2022

By | Local News | No Comments

Sydney’s property market has been experiencing challenging times this year.

The city’s median value has fallen -9.0% since its January 2022 peak, according to CoreLogic. But, here in Darling Point, property prices remain relatively strong. Realestate.com.au data shows our suburb’s median apartment value is still 31.1% higher than 12 months ago – making ours one of Sydney’s best-performing areas.

We explore what’s happening in the market and explore Darling Point property values have held up well, despite a broader downturn.

A snapshot of the Darling Point property market

Domain provides the following snapshot of where the Darling Point apartment market currently stands, based on the past 12 months of sales. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough data on house sales to draw any conclusions.

Property size Median value Clearance rate Properties sold
One-bedroom $1.26 million 73% 11
Two-bedroom $1.955 million 66% 40
Three-bedroom $4.35 million 66% 33

For me, one thing that stands out is that our local auction clearance rates are well above that of Sydney more broadly. For the week of 1 October, the Sydney-wide auction clearance rate was 56%, while Darling Point is tracking a minimum of 10% higher.

One reason for this, as the table also shows, is the low amount of stock on the market.

This lack of stock has been a defining feature of our local property market over the past few years. In fact, there are consistently half as many listings now compared with a decade ago.

Given that the laws of supply and demand set property prices, this short supply has helped keep prices high in our area even as demand across the property market has slowed.

How much have Darling Point property prices grown since the pandemic?

Domain also gives us data on the growth rates for different property types over the past few years. This presents us with some interesting insights into the local market.

Property type Growth 2020 Growth 2021 Growth 2022 Total
One-bedroom apartment no data -1.5% 16.7% 15.2%*
Two-bedroom apartment 10.6% 1.7% 15.5% 27.8%
Three-bedroom apartment -4.3% 60.7% -3.3% 53.1%

* Two-year growth not three.

As this shows, the value of local one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments has continued to grow this year. However, the value of three-bedroom apartments has fallen slightly.

On the other hand, three-bedroom apartments also experienced the largest gains in 2021. Three-bedroom apartments are particularly popular with downsizers, who form one of the most important buyer segments in our local market. And over the past couple of years, this buyer group has helped push values to record highs.

The relative success of one- and two bedroom apartments over 2022 could also be because we’re starting to see both investors and first-home buyers return to the market. Both buyer segments tend to be more active in this part of the market and ABS data shows that new loans to first-home buyers actually increased in August.

Is this a good time to buy and sell property in Darling Point?

It pays to remember that buyers are also usually sellers, and vice-versa. When you sell your home, you generally have to also buy somewhere to move into. That means selling in a runaway market isn’t necessarily the best thing as a buyer – rising prices when you buy can negate many of the gains you make when you sell.

Both Domain and realestate.com.au’s data show that this could be a great time to buy and sell property in Darling Point. We’re not seeing the same heat in the market that we saw early this year and last year – which means that, as a buyer, you’ll have more time to choose the perfect next home. At the same time, we’re not seeing the big price falls that some parts of Sydney have experienced. Values are relatively stable, and a lack of stock means vendors will usually sell, so long as they’re patient (average days on market for units has lengthened to range from 58 according to realestateinvestar.com.au to 70 days according to realestate.com.au) and have reasonable price expectations.

For these reasons, it’s in a market such as this one, where there is a reasonable balance between buyer and seller, that it often makes sense to make a move.

Want more?

If you’d like to know more about the Darling Point property market, or if you need help buying or selling a home, get in touch.

image of the terrace row

Rare Terrace Homes On Darling Point Road

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

The much-loved historic mansions of Darling Point offer a link to the suburb’s beginnings.

However, towards the end of Darling Point Road sits a row of rare homes that equally contribute to the suburb’s unique history.

The Etham estate

The land surrounding Etham Avenue was once part of the Etham estate.

Etham was a home built in 1869 for James Sutherland Mitchell, a partner in Tooth’s Brewery. Mitchell had apparently demolished an earlier house, The Willows, to make room for his new mansion, for which he fashioned many of the wooden carvings and fixtures himself.

Like many Darling Point homes of the time, Etham was built to grand proportions. Facing Double Bay, its many features included a billiards room and a glass-enclosed ballroom. And according to a writer in 1906, “to go to an entertainment at Etham was the ambition of all in the social world”.

Subdivision of Etham

Mitchell died in 1893, and in 1900 Etham was sold to Sir Matthew Harris (the grand house was eventually demolished in 1920). The property’s grounds, however, were subdivided and sold off over the following years.

The first subdivision auction was held on 24 February 1900. Advertised as “water frontages and residential sites”, the available blocks lined Darling Point Road, Etham Avenue and Carthona Avenue (today’s Sutherland Crescent).

Each block was sold under Torrens title. The terms were one-fifth cash, with the balance paid over four years at an interest rate of 5 per cent.

Mysteriously, all the same blocks were again advertised for auction for 7 December 1901. It’s unclear what happened at the 1900 auction, but it appears it was postponed, or none of the lots sold.

Etham Estate is situated in one of the most fashionable suburbs of Sydney, convenient to the principal avenues of the city, and intersected by excellently made streets,” the 1901 brochure proclaims, underneath a photo of horse-drawn vehicles and carriages on Darling Point Road.

Held in the State Library, the sepia-toned pamphlet also included other photos of the area, like a photo of Etham itself and a sailboat on the harbour. There’s also a photo of the view looking towards Double Bay, with the caption:

“From various points of the estate magnificent views can be obtained of the Harbour and picturesque landscape of Double Bay. The changing effects of Nature present an interminable series of delightful and varying prospects that cannot fail to charm the eye of the beholder.”

However, a third auction was held in October 1902 to sell off the blocks not previously snapped up. The advertising flyer for this auction shows that all the blocks fronting Darling Point Road were already sold by then, making way for housing that would typify the era – with a few differences.

Not your typical Darling Point house

Those Darling Point Roadblocks would go on to showcase homes somewhat unique in the suburb.

While terrace houses sprang up across Sydney’s inner suburbs during the Victorian and early Edwardian years, such homes were much rarer in Darling Point, where mansions with extensive grounds had ruled since the 1830s.

But starting with number 125 Darling Point Road, a row of homes built in the early years of the 20th century defied this trend – something which has seen some of them heritage listed. They are significant precisely for being semi-detached and built in an era and suburb where most homes were freestanding.

The five freestanding buildings, totalling ten homes, were built directly opposite Swifts. The two-storey homes share elements including a central front tower, cast iron lacework, decorative external plasterwork and finials along the roofline. Beautifully tiled verandahs and large windows added to the street appeal.

Inside, the homes were planned for both space and elegance. Well-proportioned, generously sized rooms featured, as did fireplaces, high ceilings and broad archways.

Number 125 Darling Point Road

Sitting at the head of this significant row of homes, number 125 Darling Point Road is currently on offer.

With five spacious bedrooms and four bathrooms, this is a gracious home full of sophistication and style. It’s also a rare chance to secure a piece of Darling Point history, and make it your own.

Looking to buy or sell in Darling Point? Call me today.

Sydney Harbour View

What’s The Value Of A Sydney Harbour View?

By | Local News, Suburb Profiles | No Comments

One of the most fabulous things about the Darling Point peninsula is its prime position in the heart of world-renowned Sydney Harbour.

This perfect positioning means many Darling Point homes are lucky enough to enjoy breathtaking harbour views. We find out more about this most coveted real estate feature and take a look at the perennial question – how much is a Sydney Harbour view worth?

A harbour view: the ultimate real estate feature

A harbour view is a home feature that never goes out of style. It can transform a room (or an entire home) and make you feel in turns calm, energised, and inspired. Whether water or city vistas, harbour views have that mercurial quality of always changing, depending on the season, the weather or the time of day, while remaining a soothing and steady constant. In suburbs like Darling Point, where buildings are already at their maximum heights and development is tightly controlled, views are unique, limited and irreplaceable, and that’s why they’re so sought-after.

What makes a Darling Point harbour view so special?

The harbour is Sydney’s pièce de resistance, and here in Darling Point, it’s virtually our backyard. Our peninsula juts out into its sapphire waters, affording many of our homes up-close-and-personal views of the iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House, the twinkling city skyline, the glistening yacht-filled waters of Rushcutters Bay, north to North Sydney, Clark Island and Mosman, or east for sunrises over sparkling Double Bay and Point Piper.

Living in a Darling Point home with a harbour view might mean enjoying pole position for the spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks or a front row seat for the start of the Boxing Day Sydney to Hobart yacht race. As we come into spring, Darling Point residents with harbour views will play daily witness to the sky, the harbour and its wildlife awakening from their winter slumber with longer days, a different quality of light infusing the water, ever-changing cloud formations and new life.

How much is a Sydney Harbour view worth?

When it comes to Sydney real estate, a view of our world-famous harbour has always been the most desirable vista of all, but new research reveals that demand for Australian waterfront homes is even greater since the advent of COVID. As we spent more time at home than ever, thanks to lockdowns, closed borders and remote working, our desire for a water view grew. This, coupled with a lack of homes with views on the market, has driven up prices for waterfront homes. Around Australia, waterfront homes now sell for 81 per cent more than comparable properties set back from the water, with harbourfront homes commanding the highest premium (116 per cent). Here in Sydney, that premium rises to 121 per cent for a waterfront home in a suburb like Darling Point with iconic harbour views. That’s up from 95 per cent in 2019 and the highest waterfront premium of any city in the world.

The quality of a view will also impact the price it commands. Unobstructed water views are the most highly prized, with some estimating they can add between 30 and 80 per cent to a property’s value. Partial or obstructed views may still boost a home’s price, but not to the same extent.

Which Darling Point views are the most prized of all?

Darling Point waterfront apartments and houses with views of our most iconic landmarks – the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House – tend to command the greatest premiums. These world-famous views are especially popular with overseas buyers.

As well as harbour views, direct water access is also highly coveted. The number of properties on the harbourfront will always be limited, thanks to the presence of nature reserves and parks and development controls, making the select few that possess direct water access most desirable. This can lead to significant price differences among homes in prestige neighbourhoods like Darling Point, even among homes that all possess stunning harbour views, with factors like the side of the street coming into play.

This immediate water access is where Sydney harbourfront homes often trump beachfront properties, most of which are found across the road from the beach. Harbourfront homes in suburbs like Darling Point also have the benefit of being closer to the city.

If you’re interested in buying or selling a home with a harbour view in Darling Point, get in touch today.

Swifts Mansion in Spring 2020

Darling Point’s Glorious Gardens

By | Local News | No Comments

Darling Point is renowned for its harbour and city views, but the suburb’s gardens and streetscapes are equally beguiling.

We take a walk through some of Darling Point’s private gardens and tree-lined public spaces.


The gardens surrounding heritage-listed property Lindesay have been admired by generations of visitors.

The house itself, completed in 1836, was the first home built in the area after Darling Point was subdivided. Today, the Lindesay gardens play host to weddings and other special occasions throughout the year. The parterre garden, manicured lawns and sandstone courtyard feature in many a couple’s wedding album, with uninterrupted harbour views forming a stunning backdrop.

So beloved are the gardens by locals, that a team of neighbourhood volunteers meets once a week to tend to them.


Another classic and iconic Darling Point mansion is Swifts, dating from 1883, with its imposing gates and fig trees. The gardens surrounding the stone house are a vital part of its heritage. Beyond representing landscape and design trends from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, they show the relationship between the house and garden defined by its landmark sweeping driveway, giving the estate unique historical significance. Both the house and gardens together are considered an “item of environmental heritage”.

President Towers

Noted as Sydney’s first circular residential building, the very modern President Towers is also renowned for its award-winning gardens.

The grounds, which surround the tower and its pool area, boast a vegetable garden, a Japanese-inspired garden and nine discrete areas for residents to enjoy. The gardens are the work of landscape designer Ian McHugh, and won the Best Garden and Best Tree categories in the Woollahra Garden Awards in 2013.

Glenhurst Gardens

The 1960s ushered in an era of change for Darling Point, with many of the suburb’s grand old mansions demolished to make way for apartment blocks. While some still remain, like Babworth House or The Annery, in other cases the historic homes may be gone, but remnants of their gardens remain, along with original garden walls, fences and gate posts. Hopewood Gardens, formerly Hopewood House, is one example.

Another of these is Glenhurst Gardens, which became known as the “singing apartment block” during Sydney’s covid lockdowns. The block is situated on the land where Glenhurst, a Victorian Italianate mansion, once stood. After Glenhurst was demolished, its gardens were incorporated into the landscaping for the new apartment block.

McKell Park

McKell Park was opened in 1985, but some of its trees date from a much earlier time. Before the park was built, a large mansion, Canonbury, stood on this prime waterfront block. When the land was redeveloped, planners ensured they incorporated some of the already-existing trees into the landscape design. Take a look around the park and you’ll see Kentia and Bangalow Palms, some up to 12 metres high, which were part of the original Canonbury gardens.

Taking it to the streets

Beyond the garden gate, trees play a significant part in the street appeal of Darling Point – so much so that Woollahra Council has a Register of Significant Trees, which features a number of Darling Point trees.

As you head down Bennett Avenue towards Thornton Street you’ll see a row of palms ending with a pine. At 30 metres tall, the pine – a Cook Pine – is over 110 years old and believed to have been part of the early ornamental planting at Callooa (formerly Brougham Lodge). The palms are Canary Island Date Palms and are more than 80 years old.

On Loftus Road, near the corner of New Beach Road, two towering American Cotton Palms have stood sentinel for over 110 years, possibly planted as part of an original estate prior to subdivision.

Yarranabbe Park is also home to many significant trees. Prominent along many Darling Point streets, the Hill’s Weeping Figs that line New Beach Road are very familiar to locals. While they are listed by the council as Trees of Significance, this row of trees has caused friction over the years, with locals concerned about the trees obstructing their views.

Looking for your own piece of Darling Point? Call me today.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Darling Point Demographics: What The 2021 Census Reveals About Us

By | Local News | No Comments

Initial data about Darling Point from the latest government 2021 Census – has just been released.

If you’ve ever wondered who your neighbours are, how they live and what they earn or spend on their mortgage, this is the place to find out.

The data reveals some interesting facts about our local area, including that the average age of Darling Point residents has risen. Meanwhile, the number of properties has decreased slightly, and incomes, mortgage repayments and rents have all gone up. So, interestingly, has the average number of kids per family!

We take a look behind the 2021 data to see how we compare to the state and national averages. We also look at what’s changed locally since the data from the 2011 and 2016 Censuses was released.

A focus on Darling Point

I’ve been selling real estate in Darling Point for many years now. While a lot of things have changed over that time, the Census shows that several constants remain – helping make sure this is an area that’s always in demand from both buyers and renters.

On 10 August 2021, or Census night, there were a total of 3,977 of us living in Darling Point, with a fair number more women than men (54.5% women vs 45.5% men).

Most of us (59.5%) were born in Australia, and 0.3% of our population has Indigenous heritage. Those born elsewhere come from countries as diverse as England (6.1%), South Africa (3.3%), New Zealand (3.1%), China (1.7%) and the USA (1.6%).

There were 1,046 families with an average of 1.6 children each. However, couple families without children (59.9%) far outnumber couple families with children (27.3%) or single-parent families with children (12%). Overall, there’s an average of 1.9 people and 1.3 cars per household.

If we were to create a profile of an ‘average’ Darling Point inhabitant, it would be a 49-year-old married woman who was born in Australia and lives in an apartment with 2.5 bedrooms.

How does Darling Point’s population compare to NSW and Australia?

  • We’re a lot older than the average. With an average age of 49, we’re around a decade older than the NSW (39 years) and Australian (38 years) averages.
  • 16.6% of people in Darling Point speak a language other than English at home. This is half the NSW state average, but for those who do speak another language at home, it’s likely to be Mandarin, Italian, Cantonese, French or German.
  • We are fortunate to earn high incomes. Our median household income is $3,219 per week, and our median weekly personal, family and household incomes are around twice the state and national averages.
  • We give back through volunteering. Unsurprisingly, we outpace the state (13%) and national (14.1%) averages for unpaid volunteering with 19.1% of people volunteering through an organisation or group.

What does the Census reveal about Darling Point property?

  • Our homes are most likely to be apartments. Only 6.5% of properties in Darling Point are free-standing houses (nationally, it’s 72.3%). Even fewer are townhouses, terraces or attached dwellings (just 5.9%). A whopping 87.1% of dwellings are flats or apartments – this compares to a state average of 21.7% and a national average of 14.2%.
  • We have a high proportion of unoccupied dwellings. 21.4% of dwellings in Darling Point were unoccupied at the time of the Census, which is twice the state or national average.
  • Our properties are smaller than the Aussie average. Properties in our area tend to be smaller, with an average of 2.5 bedrooms per dwelling, compared with 3.1 bedrooms nationally.
  • We’re more likely to own our property outright. In Darling Point, 42.9% of properties are owned outright, which is well above the state (31.5%) and national (31%) averages. 18.4% of people currently own their property with a mortgage, which is lower than the state and national figures.
  • Around a third of all dwellings are rented. 34.9% of all dwellings are rented, which is slightly above the state average of 32.6% as well as the national average of 30.6%.

What has changed since the Census in 2011 or 2016?

There are some interesting trends worth noting in the data.

  • Our population is fairly static. In 2011, our population was 3,919. By 2016, our population was 4,190, and in 2021 it was 3,977. So while it grew a little, then dipped a little, it’s been pretty constant over the past decade.
  • The number of homes has been trending down. Ten years ago there were 2,573 dwellings, and five years ago, there were 2,527 dwellings. By 2021, the number of dwellings had decreased incrementally again to 2,454. So, while other parts of Sydney grapple with overdevelopment, we actually could be losing homes.
  • The average age is gradually increasing. It went from 47 in 2011 to 48 in 2016. In 2021, it was 49 years old.
  • But there are more children per family. Despite this, the average number of kids per family rose fractionally from 1.5 in 2011 and 2016, to 1.6 in 2021.

And the five-year data reveals other changes that impact the property market too:

  • Our already above-average weekly incomes have increased. Household incomes in our area have risen from $2,966 per week to $3,219 per week.
  • Weekly rents have increased a little. The average rent has increased from $787 per week in 2016 to $825 per week in 2021.
  • Median mortgage repayments have gone up a lot. In 2016, the median monthly mortgage repayments in Darling Point was $3,000. Five years later – and despite falling interest rates – it had risen to $3,900. That’s an increase of 30%.

Further data from the 2021 Census will be released in October.

Want more?

If you’d like to know more about our local property market in Darling Point, or if you need help buying or selling a home, get in touch.

How The Economy Is Impacting Darling Point Property

By | Real Estate News | No Comments

With rising interest rates, runaway inflation, global economic uncertainty and a change of government, the economic backdrop to 2022 looks very different from 2021.

And yet, property in Darling Point has outperformed the Sydney average by some margin.

We look at what impact broader economic and political trends are having on the Darling Point property market.

The impact of rising interest rates

In May this year, the RBA lifted the official cash rate for the first time in over a decade – taking it from its emergency level of 0.1% to 0.35%. It then lifted the official cash rate by another 0.5% in both June and July, so it now stands at 1.35%.

The RBA says it will continue raising rates until monetary conditions are ‘normalised’ and that it will be guided by both incoming data and its assessment of the outlook for inflation and employment. Some commentators believe this means it won’t stop until the official cash rate is around 3%. This would mean home loan interest rates would be in the range of around 6%.

The effect on the market

Rising interest rates aren’t necessarily having a major impact on affordability in our local property market. Mortgage stress is not as significant an issue here in Darling Point as it is in some parts of Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, according to a recent report. In fact, my experience is that many recent buyers are downsizers with no mortgage at all.

At the same time, interest rates still aren’t very high by historical standards and are unlikely to even get to the 30-year Australian average of close to 7%. We’re unlikely to see a return to the late 80s or early 90s, where homeowners really did face crippling mortgage rates.

Where it does seem to be having an effect, however, is in the lack of clarity. The mere fact that rates are rising – and no one knows exactly where they will stop – is causing some people to pause the activity, whether that means buying or selling. Added to this is the general economic uncertainty that’s stemming from rising inflation, a sliding share market and unpredictable world events.

The recent change of government

Earlier this year, even before rates began rising, we saw people holding off on property transactions because of the upcoming federal election. Elections almost always lead to less property market activity. This year was no exception – even if it was not as pronounced as in 2019 when the Shorten-led Labor Party pledged to end negative gearing and end the capital gains concession for property.

Once an election is over, property market activity tends to return but this year that didn’t really happen. This wasn’t necessarily a reflection on the result but more that low activity from the election led straight into rising inflation, economic uncertainty and interest rate rises. The property market was never given the chance to recover.

Listings still tight in Darling Point

This lack of activity can really be seen in the number of property listings. SQM data shows the number of local properties for sale fell to just 48 in June 2022 – 3% lower than the same time last year.

In fact, a lack of stock for sale has been a real issue in Darling Point for some time, with less than half the number of properties for sale in recent years than a decade ago. The current conditions are adding to this.

Where the Darling Point property market stands right now

It’s this lack of supply – combined with continued demand – that has helped Darling Point continue to perform. In fact, realestate.com.au is reporting that the median unit sales price has risen 51.9% over the past 12 months to now stand at $2,925,000. In comparison, the median Sydney home value is now up only 5.9% compared to a year ago, according to the most recent CoreLogic data.

Domain data also reveals that our suburb’s auction clearance rate ranges from 60% for two-bedroom apartments to 80% for one-bedroom apartments. That’s a remarkable figure when you consider that the Sydney-wide auction clearance rate has dipped below 50% in some recent weeks.

There’s no doubt that Darling Point remains a good place to buy property, even in a turning market such as this one.

Over Sydney’s Winter, we’ve observed that many of our buyers and sellers are travelling overseas, making the most out of the Northern Hemisphere Summer and ability to travel after two years of the pandemic and lockdowns. We expect sales activity in Darling Point to increase in Spring and Summer 2022, as they return home and we see the traditional selling season kick off.

Want more?

If you’d like to know more about our local property market in Darling Point, or if you need help buying or selling a home, get in touch.