House prices are more than 20 times higher than they were three decades ago in Sydney’s top growth suburbs.
House prices are more than 20 times higher than they were three decades ago in Sydney’s top growth suburbs.

Boom suburbs: what homes in this popular city are worth

Properties in pockets of Sydney have become more than 20 times pricier than they were three decades ago following what property analysts described as "explosive" growth.

The rises were so extreme that some homeowners who paid just over $100,000 back in 1990 now own properties worth about $3 million, according to a CoreLogic study commissioned by mortgage group Aussie Home Loans.

Aussie Home Loans chief executive James Symond said the level of growth in some suburbs was hard to even fathom.

"It blows you away," he said. "Anyone who got into the market 30 years ago will have been rewarded. It's extraordinary just how much the market has grown.

MORE: 'Worst' house is Sydney's last under $900k

MORE: How family got $1.6m payday after spending $5k

"There is no silver bullet that explains it, there's been multiple forces driving the increase and it shows that what's expensive today will be considered cheap tomorrow."

Many of the suburbs with the biggest price rises over the past 30 years were near the site of the coming second airport at Badgerys Creek in Sydney's far west.

Homes in the region, including in suburbs Kemps Creek, Rossmore and Bringelly, averaged about $110,000 to $145,000 in 1990 but are now around the $3 million mark after growing more than 2000 per cent.

There were also considerable price rises in gentrified inner west suburbs and beach enclaves, along with new housing estates in the Penrith and Hawkesbury regions.

Inner west suburb Leichhardt had the biggest price rise for an area outside the western fringe, with home values rising 1440 per cent over the 30 years.

Other suburbs ranked within the top 50 for price rises since 1990 were beach suburbs Tamarama, Manly, Bondi, Freshwater, Bronte, Clovelly and Curl Curl.

These suburbs all had a 1000 per cent or more increase in values across the period, eclipsing the 384 per cent average rise in values across the Greater Sydney area over the period.

Sydney's median home price was $180,000 in 1990 and hit $870,000 at the end of 2020.

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said a strong, diverse economy, low interest rates and high migration pushed up prices across Sydney over the last few decades but some of the reasons for explosive growth in prices varied by region.

Much of the growth in suburbs near Badgerys Creek occurred in the years following the announcement of the airport site in 2014, along with plans for new rail and road infrastructure to service the area.

The plans and the promise of a Western Sydney "aerotropolis" in the area attracted developers, who snapped up homes on large blocks at high prices to use as future housing developments.

Ms Owen said gentrification was a significant factor in areas such as the inner west. "When regions transform, it brings new people, the population grows and a new demographic moves in," she said.

Leichhardt agent Michael Montano of Raine and Horne said the inner west as a brand evolved significantly over the past 20 years.

Beach suburbs have also had big price rises.
Beach suburbs have also had big price rises.

"It went from a rough and tumble area with working class roots to a more up-market area appealing to bigger (spending) buyers," Mr Montano said.

"In the case of Leichhardt, the surrounding areas had already gentrified before it and it was the next in line to change."

Leichhardt homeowners Elly and Jarod Wakefield have been searching for a new property in the area after listing their current home on James St and said competition for houses was intense.

"It's not surprising to me that Leichhardt had the most growth in the inner west," Ms Wakefield said. "We've seen queues of 50 people at the open homes. The auctions just go so high.

"We absolutely love the area and we want something we can renovate but it seems everyone else has the same idea. It's hard."

6-8 Redmond St, Leichhardt is for sale through Raine and Horne-Montano with a $4m guide.
6-8 Redmond St, Leichhardt is for sale through Raine and Horne-Montano with a $4m guide.

Clarke and Humel director Michael Clarke said there was a "Home And Away" effect pushing up prices in beach suburbs like Manly.

"More people have come from overseas to Sydney in the last few decades," he said. "They usually want to live near the beach because that's what they have seen of Australia on TV and they will spend a lot of money for that lifestyle."

Originally published as Boom suburbs: what your home is worth