Most competitive suburbs for buyers: the Sydney areas where houses with backyards are in short supply

Sean O’Hara, with sons Aidan, Jesse, and Zac, at their home in Dee Why up for sale. Picture: Tim Hunter


Houses with backyards have been getting harder to come by across much of Sydney during the pandemic and the shortage of sales has kept prices high despite the weaker economic conditions.

Analysis of real estate listings showed there were less than 100 houses for sale within a 10km radius of the CBD with a price tag under $1.5m, with much of the housing requiring substantial work.

There was a similar situation in the city’s coastal regions, with less than 50 houses for sale under $1.5m in the northern beaches and a similar number in the eastern suburbs.

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The lower supply of houses with backyards comes amid an increase in unit owners seeking to trade up to bigger properties.

This increased competition among buyers and meant opportunities to get a bargain price for “family-friendly” properties evaporated.

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CoreLogic’s Eliza Owen said COVID-19 had a bigger impact on listings than prices.


Housing experts said a different dynamic was at play in the inner city unit market, where supply has been rising while demand from investors – historically the biggest market for units – has nosedived.

House supply in Sydney’s west was also significantly higher with close to 4000 houses up for sale, according to My Housing Market data.

“There’s more demand for bigger properties and work from home arrangements have probably been a factor in that,” My Housing Market economist Andrew Wilson said.

“The Sydney economy has also done better than many expected and buyers have adjusted to that reality.

“Buyers of mid-range houses have been less affected by job cuts, they’re still active, so prices for houses have been flat rather than falling.”

CoreLogic data showed Sydney’s median home price has dropped by about 2 per cent since the COVID-19 crisis started in March but remains about 12 per cent higher than a year ago.

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said COVID-19 had a bigger impact on the number of properties marketed than prices.

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New listings during the stage two restrictions from mid-March to early May fell 50.3 per cent. Listings later bounced back but remain below levels reported last year, she said.

Dee Why residents Sean and Kristy O’Hara realised it was a good time to be listing their home after realising there was a dire shortage of freestanding houses with backyards in their suburb.

Their two-level house on Turner St is one of just 10 houses up for sale in the suburb. It is also one of only six priced under $2m.

Dee Why home sellers

Backyards like those in the O’Hara’s Dee Why house are becoming rarer. Picture: Tim Hunter.


There were even fewer listings in surrounding suburbs Narraweena and Cromer, while southern neighbour Curl Curl had just three house listings.

The low supply has come at a time of rising demand in the area — realestate.com.au data showed northern beaches properties attracted among the highest levels of interest online.

“Just looking at what’s on offer in our area it’s pretty obvious there is a shortage,” Ms O’Hara said.

The couple are moving to a nearby home with “renovation potential” and will be seeking to fix it up. Their home goes to auction September 12 with Belle Property agent Nick Duchatel.

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