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While much of Sydney faces increased vacancy rates and falling rents, the odds are favouring landlords north of the Spit Bridge.
Max Walls International sales director Anthony Walls says individual rooms in share accommodation are renting for $350 a week while luxury homes are securing paid-up executive tenants.
“We deal with a lot of international buyers and ex pats and they know they’ll be here for a couple of years so they’re paying relocation agents and paying rent upfront for a full year.”
The minute the Australian dollar hit 70 cents the phones rang off the hook.
Walls is expecting both rents and property prices to continue rising this year, driven in part by the low Australian dollar.
“The minute the Australian dollar hit 70 cents the phones rang off the hook,” he says. “We sold a few properties sight unseen and we’ve got buyers commuting back to Hong Kong, Japan and the United States from their Sydney base.”
With the possibility of the dollar declining further this year, Walls believes expat buyers will continue to pay premium prices for northern beaches real estate.
Guildea principal Jason Guildea says Chinese buyers have been targeting deep waterfronts in Seaforth, with prices starting around the $3 million mark. A new record for the suburb was set in September last year when Mac Lee Realty sold 106-108 Seaforth Crescent for $10 million to a local Chinese buyer.
Guildea is predicting price rises of at least five per cent from Seaforth through to Manly, with Clontarf his pick for prestige buying.
“I think Clontarf is massively undervalued,” he says. “”I think it’s just been forgotten in the last two years while the surrounding suburbs went crazy with investors and families buying in. The suburb has always had a prestigious name for itself but prices haven’t changed much for the last seven years.”
In Frenchs Forest, construction of the Northern Beaches Hospital is underway and while Warringah Council is yet to release the precinct structure plan, developers are already land banking in preparation of expected rezonings to allow high density in the surrounding streets.
John Cunningham, managing director of Cunninghams, says Frenchs Forest is set to become a focal point for the northern beaches, with a new shopping centre and new apartments.
Meanwhile Dee Why is progressing its town centre masterplan which Cunningham says will include the delivery of a new civic centre and library, a new park and plaza and 1000 new apartments over a 10-year period.
“I see Dee Why as being a strong performing area; we might see apartment prices there going up three to five per cent,” he says.
Walls is equally optimistic about the Manly masterplan, developed by architect firm Chrofi in conjunction with Manly Council. Work has just begun on the bold plan which includes the creation of a new car park underneath Manly Oval, the conversion of a section of Sydney Road to a pedestrianised high street and a redeveloped library with public rooftop gardens.
And at Westfield Warringah Mall a $310 million facelift is underway comprising a new, two-storey parallel mall to house 70 more retailers. Completion of the first stage is due at the end of the year.
Walls says the Manly and Westfield makeovers will add significantly to the lifestyle attributes that are a key drawcard for northern beaches buyers.