antelope Archives | Daphne Sauvage

Gap Between Darling Point Apartments And Houses Widens

By | Local News | No Comments

Since the COVID pandemic first struck in early 2020, the gap between Australia’s apartment and house prices has been growing.

CoreLogic data shows that, by January 2024, the median house value commanded a 30.4% premium compared with the median apartment value.

In Sydney, the gap between house prices and apartment prices has become much much higher still – reaching an incredible 68.4%. To put this in perspective, in March 2020, Sydney house apartment values commanded only 32.8% over apartments, meaning the gap between the two has more than doubled.

But why is this happening? And is the same phenomenon taking place here in Darling Point, or are we resisting this national trend? We explore.

How the pandemic changed our property priorities

One of the key reasons for house prices outpacing apartment prices over the past four years has been a change in some of the factors driving our property market.

During the pandemic, we saw many more people begin to work from home, which meant buyers often looked for properties with a home office, or at least space in which to work. Spending more time from home, also meant a lot of people wanted more space: not just for a home office but also for lifestyle reasons.

This encouraged some to move further from the city centre, and regional, lifestyle-focused areas such as Noosa, Byron and the Southern Highlands became Australia’s top performing property markets. Meanwhile, many inner city suburbs – especially the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs – were among the worst performing.

Interestingly, throughout this, Darling Point remained a strong property market with healthy growth in apartment prices from 2020 to 2022.

The growing importance of scarcity value

In the past 18 months or so, however, we’ve seen a lot of people moving closer to the city centre. This includes many who moved away from it during the pandemic, returning “home”. In theory, that should generally encourage apartment prices to grow more rapidly.

But now, I think, we’re seeing different factors at play.

The reality is that Sydney is increasingly becoming a city of apartments. Almost twice as many people here live in apartments compared to Melbourne (30.7% vs 15.5%, according to the 2021 census). In some suburbs, including ours, the ratio of apartments to houses is far higher still.

In fact, Darling Point is one of Australia’s highest-density suburbs, with 87.1% of residents living in apartments, compared with 5.9% in townhouses and terraces and 6.5% in freestanding houses.

A ratio like this often tends to make houses more valuable due to scarcity value, i.e. there are relatively far fewer of them than there are apartments.

Darling Point’s dynamics different from most of Australia’s

In Darling Point, the median apartment value has lifted 52.8% since March 2020 (the start of the pandemic), according to realestate.com.au.

That’s almost 50% higher than the citywide rise in the median house price (39.2%), almost exactly double the rise in Sydney’s citywide median dwelling value (26.14%), and almost six times the rise in Sydney’s median apartment value over the same period (9.6%).

We believe there are three key reasons for this.

First, downsizers are overrepresented among apartment buyers in our local market. Many have recently sold the family home for much more than they would have received pre-pandemic, giving them more to spend on their move. They also often tend to pay cash, which means they are relatively immune from the interest rate rises and cost of living pressures affecting other market segments.

Second, we are also lucky to have a disproportionate number of prestige properties in our area, and the prestige market has been performing exceptionally well over the past few years. Again, this sector has different drivers from the general property market. Here, it’s the health of the economy, exchange rates and even the amount of M&A activity that tend to have more of a bearing on prices than factors such as interest rates.

Finally, there is a shortage of quality listings available for both downsizers and prestige buyers. That means, when something does come to market, it can be the subject of intense competition. This has the effect of driving prices higher too.

What about house prices?

Unfortunately, given that there are so few houses in Darling Point (there are just 119 freestanding homes in the entire suburb), we don’t have specific data on house prices.

However, this scarcity value, is driving intense competition for houses that do come to market. Over the past year we’ve seen numerous sales over $7 million, including several over $15 million, and even a suburb record of more than $60 million.

Exactly how much a house is worth in our area often depends on land size, the home itself, plus how close it is to the water and the extent to which it captures harbour views.

Looking for a house in Darling Point?

Right now, we’re offering 2 Etham Avenue, Darling Point, a five-bedroom, four-bathroom substantial family home at the very tip of the Darling Point peninsula.

Facing north, and capturing views over Sydney Harbour to Manly and the Heads, this early 1900s manor combines original features with eclectic interiors designed in collaboration with Bourkeshire Interiors. Inspections by prior appointment.

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 in 2024, get in touch.

The Buyer’s Guide To Darling Point: November 2023

By | Real Estate News | No Comments

It’s hard to believe, but 2023 is already drawing to a close.

So, with less than eight weeks remaining until Christmas, we explore six things buyers need to know or do if they want to buy property in Darling Point before year’s end.

1. There is more choice

One of the major issues we’ve faced in the Darling Point property market over the past couple of years has been a lack of properties for sale. And, as we reported earlier this year, the trend was only getting worse over 2023.

In fact, there have been times when some buyers have struggled to find anything on the market that comes close to meeting their needs.

While we’ve felt the frustration of this effect locally, it’s actually part of a national trend. Between November 2019 and July 2023, property listings across Australia fell by around 35%, according to SQM Research.

The good news for buyers is that this looks to be changing. For the past two months, the number of listings has been rising, and we’ve been seeing more properties come to market this Spring than in several years. Last week alone, there were 891 auctions across Sydney, according to Domain. That’s almost a 50% increase from May this year – and a sign that, after waiting out interest rate rises and global economic uncertainty, people have greater confidence to transact.

2. That means there are great properties for sale

The data supports precisely what we’re seeing on the ground – there is a noticeable lift in the number of listings coming to market this Spring.

That means, as a buyer, some fantastic properties are coming up for sale in our local area, many of which feature expansive harbour views.

This includes 29/3 Darling Point Road, an opportunity to amalgamate four existing apartments totalling approximately 400 square metres and occupying the entire 29th floor of the Ranelagh building. It also includes absolute waterfronts, such as 1/27 Sutherland Crescent and 1/33 Sutherland Crescent, and sub-penthouses with expansive harbour views such as 11/1 Sutherland Crescent. We are also selling the world-class penthouse at 1/44 Mona Road, and 18C/21 Thornton Street, a three-bedroom apartment with stunning views in ‘Thornton Place’.

3. But there is also more competition

Property prices are set by the laws of supply and demand. And, while there are currently many more properties for sale right now – increasing the supply side – the demand side has risen too. Growing confidence in the fundamentals of the economy and our local housing market has also brought more buyers out. And that means prices are rising.

The latest figures from realestate.com.au reveal that Darling Point’s median apartment value has risen 8.3% over the past 12 months to stand at $2.835 million. What makes this more impressive is that prices in our suburb also grew in 2022, at the same time as values around much of the city fell.

As always, we’re particularly noticing strong competition from downsizers, many of whom are taking advantage of more favourable conditions to sell their family home. They’re joined by a growing number of young professionals and families – many of whom are choosing the convenience of a harbourside apartment over living in a more traditional suburban setting.

4. It pays to act decisively

Against this backdrop, it often pays to put your best foot forward and act decisively – especially if you’re intent on securing your home before the New Year. After all, historically, very little comes on the market over December and January. SQM Research reveals that over the past three years in postcode 2027, a median of only around eight new listings tends to hit the market over each of these two months.

That said, there is an increasing trend towards off-market listings over the summer months. These are properties that real estate agents market to their private database rather than to the general public.

So, if you find that you haven’t been able to secure your new property by year’s end, register your interest in Darling Point properties with me to be kept informed of off-market listings, sales results and what is coming on the market soon.

5. Get your team of experts together

If you’re serious about buying a home in Darling Point before the end of 2023, make sure you have your team of experts ready to go. As a starter, this should include your lawyer or conveyancer. It also pays to know that Darling Point’s apartments are sometimes company title, which has its benefits but may require more specialist advice than reasonably straightforward strata title properties.

I also often advise buyers to recruit the services of a good buyer’s agent – one who knows the local area and its value and is well-connected to real estate agents and the market. A buyer’s agent won’t just help you negotiate the best deal; they’ll also often get access to properties before the wider market.

6. Remember, 2024 will be a brand new year

One interesting fact about our property market is that the summer break often signals the end of the phase and the beginning of a new one. For instance, it was in February this year that Sydney property prices started rising after a year of widespread declines.

In other words, if you hold off buying in 2023, prepare to face a different market from the one we’re seeing right now. That could mean a return to less stock or rapid price gains.

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.

10 Facts You Never Knew About Darling Point

By | Suburb Profiles | No Comments

Darling Point has long been celebrated for its gorgeous homes, scenic parks and breathtaking harbour views.

But this waterfront gem holds secrets even Darling Point locals might have yet to discover.

1. It was once known as Yaranabe. For thousands of years, Darling Point has been home to the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. Its Indigenous name, Yaranabe, was first recorded by Europeans in 1790 and is believed to honour Aboriginal man Yeranibe Goruey. Today, Darling Point’s Aboriginal heritage is celebrated by Yarranabbe Road and Yarranabbe Park.

2. It almost became a whaling station. In the 1830s, Governor Ralph Darling rejected an application for a whaling station at Darling Point and instead reserved the land for public purposes. The area was opened up for residential development in 1833 and given the name Mrs Darling’s Point in honour of Governor Darling’s wife, Eliza. It wasn’t long before the area was known simply as Darling Point.

3. It has a song written about it. In 19th-century Darling Point, parties and dances featuring live musical performances were the height of entertainment. By the middle of the century, a new trend for music written and named after local places was emerging, and in 1863, The Darling Point Polka was composed. The score can be found at the State Library if you’re interested in playing it yourself.

4. It was home to one of Australia’s best-loved poets. Dorothea Mackellar, author of Australia’s best-known and most quoted poem, My Country, was born in Point Piper but spent the last 35 years of her life in Darling Point. Despite having travelled Australia and the world and holding memories of the ‘sweeping plains’ of Australia’s interior close to her heart, Dorothea chose to spend most of her final years at Cintra, a late 19th century home at 155 Darling Point Road.

5. It harbours secret swimming spots. The secluded sandstone steps at McKell Park that lead to harbour swimming heaven are one of Darling Point’s best-kept secrets. And the suburb may be home to more harbour bathing areas before too long, with Woollahra councillor Harriet Price suggesting recently that Darling Point Reserve has the potential to become a harbourside swimming spot in the future.

6. It’s favoured by celebrities. Over the years, Darling Point has been home to plenty of famous residents, including aviator Charles Kingsford Smith, ‘I Am Woman’ singer Helen Reddy and former prime minister Gough Whitlam. Nicole Kidman even owned a home on Yarranabbe Road while she was married to Tom Cruise.

7. It’s full of architectural gems. From the moment it was opened up for residential development in the 1830s, Darling Point has been a canvas for some of Australia’s most outstanding architects. Edmund Blacket, arguably Sydney’s most famous colonial architect, designed Darling Point landmarks Retford Hall and St Mark’s, while Blacket’s employee, John Horbury Hunt, conceived Cloncorrick. Fast forward to the 20th century, and Darling Point welcomed the mid-century modern treasure Gruzman House by Neville Gruzman and several landmark residential properties by Ken Woolley to its architectural hall of fame. ‘Craigend’ was built in the Moorish and Art Deco styles in 1935, and for many years after WWII it was the residence of the US Consul General before featuring in the movie The Man from Hong Kong.

8. It has one of Australia’s most well-known churches at its heart. Built between 1848 and 1880, St Marks Anglican Church has been an integral part of the Darling Point community since its beginning. Banjo Patterson’s niece was married there in 1922, and it hosted many socialite weddings in the 1930s. But the most well-known nuptials to have been held there must be Elton John’s 1984 wedding to sound engineer Renate Blaeul. St Marks was also where the famous wedding scene from Muriel’s Wedding was filmed.

9. It’s predominantly populated by apartments. According to the 2021 Census, 87.1% of the homes in Darling Point are apartments. The transformation from a suburb of grand stately homes to one of apartment dwellers began in the 1950s, as mansions were demolished and blocks subdivided to accommodate Sydney’s growing population. Glenhurst Gardens, now a Darling Point icon, was one of the suburb’s first high-rise blocks. It was soon joined by the likes of Hopewood Gardens, Retford Hall, Thornton Place and President Towers, among others.

10. It’s a sailing mecca. Rushcutters Bay’s Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA) is the home and birthplace of Australia’s best-known yacht race, the Sydney to Hobart. Started in 1945, the race still sets sail on Boxing Day every year, with Darling Point providing an excellent vantage point from which to watch the race’s start. And the CYCA clubhouse, which was refurbished in 2018, is a delightful place to enjoy a meal or a drink by the water all year round.

Thinking about buying or selling in Darling Point? Get in touch today.

Market Wrap: What’s Been Happening In Darling Point Property Market

By | Real Estate News | No Comments

2023 has been a much more positive year than 2022 for the property market, with green shoots of growth emerging once again.

Sydney’s auction clearance rate has been over 70% for most of this year (often the sign of a seller’s market), and in the Eastern Suburbs, it currently sits at 63.9%.

Three-bedroom apartments a standout success story

Apartment size Median value 12-month growth to August 2023
Overall apartment median price $2.475 million -11.6%
Two bedroom apartments $1.755 million -27.5%
Three bedroom apartments $4.75 million 12.4%

While the median value of a two-bedroom apartment in Darling Point has fallen over the past year, there’s more to the story than meets the eye.

Firstly, it’s important to note that two-bedroom apartments experienced this fall on the back of phenomenal capital growth of 26.1% over 2021 and 2022.

Secondly, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) started raising the official cash rate in May 2022, taking it from 0.1% to its current setting of 4.1% in just over 12 months. While interest rates have been far higher historically – like in 1990, when the cash rate hit 17.0% – the past year represents the fastest and most prolonged period of rate hikes on record.

This has impacted buyers who need finance to purchase their property. In Darling Point, we’ve seen it play out in the two-bedroom market, as interest rate rises have lowered the amount many borrowers can afford.

In other market segments – such as the market for large, three-bedroom apartments or penthouses – interest rate rises have had less effect. The demographics buying these properties tend to include expats, downsizers, and others who may not even have a mortgage.

In good news for those who do need to borrow, many experts believe that the RBA’s decision to hold off on any rate rises in July and August 2023 could signal the end of any further increases. Some economists believe it may even pave the way for some decreases in the official cash rate by early 2024.

Large, prestige apartments showing the most capital gain

We’re finding that there is still incredible demand in the prestige market, with properties in this category selling for well above the median.

At the top end of the market, in April, we sold 1/40-42 Mona Road, an entire floor four-bedroom apartment in ‘St Marks Terraces’ for $10 million. This house-sized apartment with lift access commands breathtaking harbour and city skyline views and double parking. And this sale wasn’t an outlier – with four other Darling Point apartments selling between March and May for $6.26 million, $8 million, $10.425 and $14 million.

We also sold 6C/13-15 Thornton Street, a large two-bedroom apartment in Hopewood Gardens, for $3.7 million. The excellent price reflects the strong appeal of this coveted building and the apartment’s size and North-East corner position with panoramic harbour views.

In June, we sold 3B/21 Thornton Street, a generous three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in Thornton Place with double parking and a stunning aspect, for $3.2 million.

A fall in supply of listings

According to SQM Research, the number of listings across the city in July 2023 was down 16% compared to July 2022. In postcode 2027, it’s a similar pattern, with the number of listings falling from 52 in July 2022 to 37 in July 2023 – a decline of 28.8%.

Part of this is driven by longer “hold times” for property. When there’s less for sale, it tends to breed a cycle where people stay put, unable to find their next home. The average tenure for a house in Sydney is now 12.4 years, according to realestate.com.au, an increase from where it once stood at 9.3 years in 2010.

Apartments are now held for an average of 9.6 years, up from 7.7 years in 2010.

With Spring selling season just around the corner, we expect an uptick in new listings coming onto the market.

A rental market in overdrive

Sydney’s rental market has been experiencing significant price increases over the last year, and Darling Point is no exception.

According to realestate.com.au, weekly rents are up 17.6% across the board for Darling Point apartments over the past 12 months. The average weekly rent on a one-bedroom apartment has risen 17.8% to $750 -$850 per week, and for two-bedroom apartments it has increased 14.7% to $1,400-$1,600 per week.

Three-bedroom apartments have experienced the highest rate of rental price growth at 26.9% to reach $2,500 -$3,000 per week.

The vacancy rate is now just 2.74%. All this is excellent news for investors and landlords but presents challenges for many tenants, some of whom may find it more economical to buy.

Current listings

‘Longwood’ 9C/5-11 Thornton Street, Darling Point
This apartment has a truly stunning location in the coveted ‘Longwood’ building on the very tip of Darling Point, with views stretching to Manly. This 9th-floor residence offers three bedrooms, two bathrooms and parking, with access to all the amenities Longwood is famous for.

‘Ranelagh’ 21A/3 Darling Point Road, Darling Point
This two-bedroom apartment on the 21st floor of popular Ranelagh offers stunning views and convenience.

We also have two stunning apartments in ‘Retford Hall’ on the market:

Apartment 5B/23 Thornton Street, Darling Point, offers two bedrooms and double parking and occupies a niche corner private position, with wide windows filling the apartment with natural light and framing extraordinary views. It has a price guide of over $4 million.

Apartment 4A + 4C/23 Thornton Street, Darling Point, with three bedrooms, a fourth bedroom or study space, parking for four cars, and luxe finishes, this apartment encompasses approximately 167 sqm, with bespoke renovations throughout and a guide of over $8 million.

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.

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.