Mark McCrindle and The Changing Face of Sydney

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sydney, the place many of us call home, is Australia’s economic powerhouse. We are adding almost 90,000 people to our city every single year, and the 5 fastest growing areas in New South Wales are all located in Sydney. Back 50 years ago Sydney had just hit 2 million people, we are going to finish next year at 5 million people.

Sydney is a fascinating and complex landscape where old ways and old attitudes are disappearing. We used to have a cringe factor of, “this part of the city is better than that part of the city” and people would perhaps be embarrassed if they weren’t closer to where the action was. That’s all changed. People in Greater Western Sydney embrace that as their moniker, proud of being a Westie.

And when it comes to work the CBD is no longer the cities undisputed top dog. Sydney is undergoing an opportunity revolution, with entrepreneurial hotspots sprouting up just about everywhere. You’ve got the media and communications hubs around Surry Hills and Ultimo, and high-tech emerging in areas of Parramatta and even in Penrith. It’s not all just happening in the CBD alone.

NSW also has the highest migration of any Australian state, and Sydney – a global city, receives most of this growth. In this city of diversity, the city’s newest citizens form new tribes in its oldest suburbs.

Sydney has many faces, but what binds us, the one thing we all have in common is this often complex, always beautiful, ever-changing city.

The Changing Face of Sydney; Urban Sprawl Goes Vertical

The Changing Face of Sydney; A closer look at Parramatta

The Changing Face of Sydney; Is the Sutherland Shire the new boom town?

The Changing Face of Sydney; The Changing Face of Liverpool

The Changing Face of Sydney; The big Development Flying Under the Rader


Q: Just wondering how many have first language of English?

A: Sydney is one of the most culturally diverse places in Australia. Almost two in three households have at least one parent born overseas, and China may soon overtake England as the country Sydneysiders born overseas were most likely born in.

Q: My children – aged 11 and eight – and I just watched the Changing Face of Sydney. They would like to know how our suburb, Loftus, has changed over the years. Or anything exciting you can tell them about our great suburb.

A: Well it is a fascinating suburb – home to far more families with kids than the state and national average. Averaging two children per household (well above the average) and with more stay-at-home parents than average. Earning more, volunteering more, and with a higher proportion of children than most Sydney suburbs – sounds like a nice, family-friendly place to live.

Q: What does the future of Blacktown look like as a part of the changing face of the western suburbs?

A: Blacktown has consistently been the fastest growing areas in the whole of NSW over the last decade. The Blacktown City area is home to more than 300,000 people, which means it is home to more people than the whole of the Northern Territory!

Q: We have just moved to Mosman from Adelaide, what can you tell me about Mosman, its demographic and its history?

A: Mosman is home to far more females than males - average age is 40, well above Sydney’s 36 and the residents’ earn more and work longer than the NSW average. Three in five of those in the labour force in Mosman work more than 40 hours per week. It is also home to twice the proportion of professionals and managers than the state average.

Q: What are your views on Sydney property growth in the short term? Is this boom likely to continue? NSW future infrastructure projects are encouraged by this strong stamp. What would be the result if the interest rates increase?

A: Yes Sydney’s property prices are no bubble. They are underpinned by more demand (population growth) than supply (new home builds). Not only is Sydney growing around 85,000 people per year, but households are getting smaller so the housing demand is even outstripping population growth. However, Sydney prices will no doubt plateau at some point, as they have before.

Q: Which suburbs have big potential for growth? Where will be more infrastructure developments?

A: Greater Western Sydney is where the population growth is and where there will be a lot of new infrastructure over the decades ahead. Plus prices are beginning from a lower base than the east. And keep in mind that by 2032 Western Sydney will be larger than the rest of Sydney (2.9m compared to 2.7m).

Q: My partner and I are planning to buy a house. What is the quietest place in Sydney?

A: The quiet suburbs on the urban fringes – Shanes Park, Cranebrook, Marsden Park, Badgery’s Creek – are acreage at the moment but will be development central in a few years. So the quiet may just be temporary.

Q: Where is the best place to invest, which suburb?

A: Really depends on budget and also having a long-term view. Suburbs change: Redfern, Balmain, Newtown, Campberdown were once not considered desirable suburbs and are now very expensive. So it is good to look at population growth trends and emerging infrastructure. A suburb not “hot” at the moment if it is in Sydney will be a winner long term.

Q: What are the reasons for different ethnicities to settle in the respective suburbs? (Chinese in Hurstville and Chatswood, British in Manly, etc.)

A: Often it is where they have connection/family and so various suburbs end up with strong ethnicities. For example, traditionally Greeks settled in Kogarah, many from Vietnam called Cabramatta home and more recently a strong connection of those from India to Harris Park.

Q: What proportion of the Hills district is evangelical and also now the Shire?

A: The ABS census data shows religion by denomination and it shows that for example the Hills have less than 19 per cent while the Shire has more than 25 per cent Anglicans.

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