Sydney home hunters are turning their gaze to suburbs along the new $7.3 billion metro line, with online property searches for suburbs along the Metro Northwest increased by as much as 37 per cent after the project opened in May, Domain data shows, with agents also reporting a jump in demand.

This article was published by The Domain on 12 January 2020. Read the article here:

The number of online property searches for suburbs along the Metro Northwest increased by as much as 37 per cent after the project opened in May, Domain data shows, with agents also reporting a jump in demand.

While the project’s opening months coincided with a broader market turnaround, there is no doubt the metro played a big role in increased interest in the area, said auctioneer Stuart Benson of Benson Auctions.

“I’ve had people at the pointy end of an auction … all of who work in the city or Macquarie Park …. [end up in bidding wars],” Mr Benson said. “They’ve said the reason they’ve bid a little bit more than they wanted to or more than they could afford to, was to secure a property along the line.”

The Metro Northwest route. Photo: NSW Government.

There are 13 stations linking Chatswood to Rouse Hill. Suburbs with metro stops had a combined 15 per cent spike in interest following the metro launch, for the period from June to December, when compared with the previous seven months. By comparison, searches across Sydney’s suburbs more broadly increased only 4 per cent over the same time period.

“The market has changed a lot since [the metro opened] … but I am very certain it has played a part,” said Sunny Gandhi of The Agency North.

Rouse Hill, which has two stations, had the biggest uplift, with searches to buy in the suburb up 37.8 per cent. Cherrybrook, Macquarie Park and North Ryde were next with searches for each increasing more than 25 per cent.

Source: Domain. Note: Data is based on searches for properties for sale. Suburbs searches from June to December were compared to searches for the previous seven-month period.
Suburb Change in property searches
Chatswood 10.20%
North Ryde 27.10%
Macquarie Park 31.40%
Epping 18.80%
Cherrybrook 34.50%
Castle Hill 18.20%
Bella Vista 11.20%
Kellyville 12.70%
Rouse Hill 37.80%

“We do attract a lot of people from other areas because of the good school rankings, but a lot [of people coming in now] want to be in walking distance to the metro line,” Mr Gandhi said.

While prices in most metro suburbs still sit below peaks seen before the downturn — which hit suburbs with a wave of new apartments such as North Ryde particularly hard — prices are on the up and expected to keep rising, Mr Gandhi said.

It has also led to an increase in listings, agents reported, with some vendors – such as downsizers Karen and Bruce Davies – delaying selling to capitalise on the metro line.

“We were always planning to downsize and we just thought we’d wait until the metro was open,” Mrs Davies said. “One, the traffic on peak hour used to be absolutely horrendous … now it’s so much better, and two, we thought that it would add value as it’s a great piece of infrastructure.”

Karen and Bruce Davies waited to put their home on the market until Metro Northwest was up and running. The decision has worked in their favour, with a spike in buyer interest in the area in recent months. Photo: Steven Woodburn

The pair plan to swap their six-bedroom West Pennant Hills house, about one kilometre from the Cherrybrook station, for a smaller home along the metro – which their children take to university and they use for work and the city. The decision to delay selling may pay off, with a 23.3 per cent jump in property searches in the suburb.

The number of property sales in suburbs along the metro line was also up 47 per cent over the seven-month period, in comparison to a 28 per cent uplift across the city.

Selling agent Jennifer Carr of Louis Carr Real Estate said the metro was drawing in new buyers who previously never considered the area – particularly from the north shore.

“[In the past] we didn’t have the infrastructure, the transport network, which meant a lot of people didn’t know we existed,” she said. “Now they definitely do and for the properties that are within about one kilometre or less from a station, there is definitely a market out there.”

The Metro Northwest opened in May last year. Photo: Peter Rae

Increased demand for the area was to be expected, said Shane Geha, managing director of EG Property Group and Urban Planning.

“It’s hardly surprising, because it’s actually a very affordable, by comparison, place to live with the great convenience of a great new metro line … which is the most efficient in Sydney.”

Properties close to metro stations and other public transport will command an increasing premium as Sydney’s population continues to grow, Dr Geha said.

He noted higher density buildings should have been built along the line, as this was key to getting the most out of transport links and made purchasing in better-connected areas more affordable.

“We go build beautiful infrastructure … but then squander opportunities,” he said.

“The best cities are much more dense… and that’s what makes the public transport work really well.”