Sydney's Rising Star Suburbs

Monday, January 04, 2016

Analysis of the Urban Living Index shows the
top 3 growth areas to watch

The Urban Living Index rates each of Sydney’s suburbs based on five key liveability factors: Community, Employability, Amenity, Accessibility and importantly, Affordability.

While some of Sydney’s most glamorous suburbs such as Bondi, Neutral Bay and Manly did very well on the first four measures, they did not do well in the affordability category. The cost of living and the cost of housing are currently red-hot issues for Sydney siders and so affordability is in many ways the priority issue with the other lifestyle measures remaining purely theoretical for those priced out of an area.

The majority of Sydneysiders (51%) believe that their area will be even less affordable in three years’ time than it is today- which is almost five times as many as those who believe their area will become more affordable. And most strikingly, almost 9 in 10 Sydney residents (88%) state that housing affordability will be a massive or significant challenge for the next generation.

With this in mind, we have analysed the Urban Living Index data of all Sydney suburbs to find the areas that have excellent affordability- but also rate very well on the other lifestyle measures.

While there are 25 suburbs that score 15 or above (out of 20) for affordability, there are three areas in this list that have great results in the other liveability categories as well.

1st Lalor Park

Lalor Park and the adjoining Kings Langley toped our hot spotting list. The affordability score (15) was excellent, and these suburbs have an amenity score (a measure of the number of shops, restaurants, arts and recreation facilities and educational options in the suburb) which was very good. In fact these suburbs scored higher on the local amenity provisions than suburbs including Newport, Wahroonga and Frenchs Forest. Similarly Lalor Park and Kings Langley scored well on accessibility (a measure that looks at public transport, employment access and walkability of an area) and above beach and harbour side suburbs like Avalon and Rose Bay.

While the overall score for Lalor Park-Kings Langley is in the “Very Good” category, its excellent affordability ranking makes it a suburb likely to boom.

2nd Menai

Menai and the adjoining suburbs of Lucas Heights and Woronora are the next suburbs set to take off based on this analysis. Relative to other Sydney suburbs, the affordability is in the excellent category and this is matched by the employability category. So the combination of good employment numbers, a significant local economy and access to housing more affordable than much of Sydney, this area in Sydney’s south is a clear hotspot.

3rd Blaxland

The third most rated area from this affordability and liveability analysis is Blaxland at the foot of the Blue Mountains and the adjoining suburbs of Warrimoo and Lapstone. Just 8 minutes from the M4 motorway, and less than 10 minutes from the Western Sydney suburbs of Penrith and Emu Plains, this area has become part of Sydney’s greater west yet the affordability, along with the community and amenity scores lift it above many areas in the outer western Sydney ring.

As the urban living index data shows, liveability depends on more than just water views and beach access- the practical factors of educational options, employment access, public transport and other built amenity and of course affordability all make an area desirable and facilitate lifestyle. That is why each of these areas have rated on the Index above the well-heeled suburbs of Palm Beach, Belrose and Vaucluse and it is why they stand out as rising stars.

This research we conducted for Urban Taskforce Australia is an example of robust research generating significant media activity and reader interest. This particular piece was summarised in the Sydney Morning Herald here, and as you can see from the image below was in the top 5 most read columns on the day in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Melbourne Age and the Brisbane Times.

For more information

The Urban Living Index was developed by McCrindle for Urban Taskforce Australia. More information and interactive maps are available at

Hooray for the Urban Living Index: A new evidence base to help urban planners & policy makers

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The co-authors of the newly developed Urban Living Index – The Urban Taskforce and McCrindle Research – rightly state that the challenge in planning for Sydney’s future is to ensure that population growth does not compromise its “world-beating lifestyle”. By tracking five key categories that produce a measure of liveability in a city, the Index is a great first step in developing an evidence base to monitoring changes as the Sydney metropolitan area as it grows – both outwards and upwards.

A key theme in most media reporting about the Index is that upwards growth – through increased residential density – is the way to ensure high levels of amenity and accessibility are maintained as Sydney grows, and that a reliance on outwards expansion may compromise such liveability standards. Although the Index broadly shows that denser residential areas rate highly from a liveability perspective, we need to dig a bit deeper to understand what it is about these areas that make them liveable. It is not just a case of these highly rated areas being dense, which is actually just a relative measure of compactness. There are many more factors at play than compactness in making a place liveable and sustainable.

The structure of the overall city, with its public transport and road network and its layout of employment and retail locations, influences transport choice more than most other factors. At the local level, good walking and cycling connectivity to local shopping and public transport services is the key to how we move around. Of course, there is also the influence that individual behaviours, intentions and beliefs have on how a community might inhabit and use places and spaces. Density also plays a role, especially population density, as this helps underpin social and economic sustainability in local areas. But density is not the end game – far from it.

For example, the Index shows that Marrickville has a relatively low high density component for an inner city area (40%) but a very high liveability ranking. On the other hand, Woollahra has a higher high density component (50%) but a relatively low liveability ranking for an inner urban area. If one interrogates the rankings, you’ll see that Marrickville ranks highest for accessibility (which considers the factors I mention above), whereas Woollahra has a relatively low ranking for accessibility. This example, and there are many others across the metropolitan region, shows that higher density areas do not necessarily guarantee higher levels of accessibility.

The upshot of policy makers and planners thinking that increased density inevitably produces more liveable and sustainable urban areas has resulted in, until recently, a saturation of multi-level apartment construction in infill areas. And some of these areas have been bereft of the factors that the Index shows achieves high levels of amenity: within walking distance to rail or priority light rail and bus routes that connect to employment locations; within walking distance to a plentiful supply of local shops and services; well-connected and safe walking and cycling routes; and a range of different residential options that help create a vibrant social mix of different family types.

I think the Index helpfully shows that density is just part of the story. The Index is comprised of twenty separate measures- and many of these are not at all reliant on densification. As I’ve shown above, we cannot simply assume that areas of high density automatically generate liveable and sustainable outcomes. There are simply too many factors at play to make this conclusion.

Dr Michael Grosvenor, Principal MGC

An event recap of the Urban Living Index launch

Monday, December 14, 2015

It was a privilege for two of our team, Mark McCrindle and Annie Phillips to attend and present at Urban Taskforce’s launch of the Urban Living Index on Thursday 10th December.

The event was an opportunity to showcase the Urban Living Index and how it can be best utilised as Sydney continues to grow and increase in densification.

The Urban Living Index

Earlier this year we had the opportunity to develop The Urban Living Index, which is going to be used as an ongoing measure for the liveability of suburbs in Sydney. This instrument considers the affordability, community, employability, amenity and accessibility of an area to determine how liveable it is. The challenge for Sydney’s future is to ensure that it responds to population growth yet maintains its world-beating lifestyle and that its liveability rises to match its increasing density. While a city can always improve, the results of the Index show that the city planning and unit development are creating thriving urban communities, as evidenced by the results that show superior liveability in high density Sydney suburbs.

To read the full report, visit the Urban Living Index website here.

Sydney’s most liveable suburbs

Crows Nest-Waverton
Surry Hills
Potts Point – Woolloomooloo

In the media

Sydney Morning Herald - Measuring urban living across Sydney

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


learner typical australian household Hills Shire Council domestic recap pharmacies daily telegraph click entrepreneurs of today cost census 2016 EFF social media trends of 2017 baby name predictions social rent huffington post Melbourne ipswich engage christmas ashley fell narcissism dream interactive proactive 2020 baby name community event home ownership the changing face of cancelling event safe couple commuters house quote aussie culture story know the times earn social researcher school students hello fresh ageing population states 23 million energy change news spend teacher school organisations Australian schools house price Northern beaches Event going out media commentary personalities housing trends Hornsby Shire Council Queensland: QLD The Daily Edition Tuesday Trend australian communities trends report politics australian social research sydney hills SMART high density apartments criminal demographic skills population Australian Trends social impact society trends long weekend low density mover and shaker culturally diverse trend tuesday easter charity professional baby boom 1968 stay home case study Christmas season goals property mentor school satisfaction Myth ease of travel infographic wall mccrindle tea Word Up census fail IT Specialists capital cities suburban living work mates house prices twentyseventeen identity event environmental scanning investing brand Royals January 26th Territory consumer moderators guide population milestone organisational culture mccrindle in the media ultimo NBRS Architecture Queensland growth investor professional speaker royal baby millenials conferences financial social trends aged care menai living product research pack emerging trends financial independence NSW wealth and income post rationalism 2014 not-for-profit focus group motivate faux-cilising brisbane woolworths housing growth tuesday PSI mateship new office shifts gender home VIC thought leadership hills shire business performance Generation Y workplace equip presentations careers acf15 business easy rider Australian Census anzac etiquette cloudy days speakers community meetings perth insight NT researcher HSC internships community engagement children the australian dream fresh holidays experience small business winter blues parents Res Vis property price Wagga Wagga Bathburst ideas brands investment social life workshop SA Caregiver government Australian communities dare to dream wealth TAS FPA statistics forum potts point cold forecasting university degree entertainment trends analyst Australian demographics 1980 annual income employers Sydney trends income sector not for profit monarchy contiki education future report learn urban collaboration tertiary education cartodb SMSF Northern Territory pyrmont social change earnings in the media conference presentation VET sector retirement suburbs names 40 million blaxland global generations sydneysiders hopes rich area personal growth define student cash repayments Netflix jobs high density living Engineering Manager Population Clock marriages royal influence English Andrew Duffin New South Wales Christmas presents baby names australia report facts shopper's pick presentation teach employment youth unemployment online crows nest Channel Seven national wealth 1994 JOMO sydney event growing population celebration the hills shire Australian Dream work overcast housing market NEETs society survey workforce optus teleworking baby name trends Education Future Forum sector wide study wage life social lives internet lifestyle future proof office space keynote speaker REIV National Conference logan teachers Generation X ashley mckenzie responsive Northern Beaches Christian School learning styles Work place tableau visualisation litter wolloomooloo 2016 census results urban taskforce stats Kirsten Brewer Assistant Store Manager poor data visualisation social issues seasons Crime Rates education social commentary hornsby office opening 24,000,000 participants australia infographic family 2017 rain generations digital friendship summer unaffordable norwest Australia Day 2017 Macquarie University technology staying in royal family cancel plans optus my business awards population growth Canberra 2013 new york times baby boomers balance events New Zealand James Ward cancelling plans gen z System's Architect global sustainable Northern Beaches the hills report Tasmania weather insights men housing victoria happiness staff christian outsourcing conference speaker water youth sentiments WA emerging generations tv Mark McCrindle daily commute faux-ciliser moreton bay communicate australians staying home more Research Executive land of the middle class Love city group February 16 baby names report ACT social researchers students wealth and income distribution cultural diversity father's day urban living bureau generation alpha paying to work authenticity non profit economic survey design New Zeland communication program manly Australians CBD ferry kate middleton media 2015 plans renter of the future year 12 cars breakfast future-proof census office supply and demand Christchurch wellbeing world tattoos graphs social commentator consumerism lalor park communications aged care puzzle debate wedding research services generational trends DIY 24 million future proofing Western Australia national private wealth Aussie Deaths Real Estate REIV Conference environment travelling public holiday entrepreneur economy Aussies Australian Home study google baby names bus families Skilling Financial Planning Association of Australia parenting relevant marrickville education sector neutral bay trends of 2016 panel South Australia 1975 keynote shopping workplace culture clothing jobs of the future baby social enquiry innovation forecast young people market research offenders Social Trend Charlotte mythbusting data commute grandparents slideshare grave decision healthy future urban living index greatness future leader alpha Australian Families households entrepreneurial apartment dessert google for education Merry Christmas demographic trends sun World Water Day world youth day The ABC of XYZ NBRS mortgage train Sydney Hills Business Chamber divorce rate 2016 financial future training winter rising house prices rise of local global financial crisis wages car research data research culture McCrindle Speakers emerging technologies divorce relational village buildings eliane food data analyst TDE holiday "know the times" church megatrends eliane miles Do It Yourself goal middle class newspaper intern millionth schools builders vegemite career marriage local work-life trend socialites owning a home vegetarian young australians census results debt educated pharmacy brand experience thrive Channel 7 Births shbc toys real optimistic rule keeper high density group session increasing densification Financial Planning Week Duchess of Cambridge nfp 2016 census belief women mother's day teaching generation selfie financial fears innovative Christmas lunch video Vocational education #censusfail business index suburb earning local communities futurist finance renting snapshot salary conference unemployment publication media activity resilience professional development travel mining boom Australian Population list mccrindle research child care sydney speaker social shifts ACF award VET medicine results Gen X education research schools students social analysis cost of living property market demographer bondi Australian Communities Trends sydney metro demographics dreaming meals Kiwi omnibus ACF 2016 educhat darwin mythbusters internship year 7 marketing Geoff Brailey research report sunburnt country university high school spirituality professional services Australian Bureau of Statistics demographic transformations challenge Adelaide faith customer priorities Wodonga analysis hobart mccrindle gold coast tea leadership workshop housing affordability sector wide in depth interviews volunteers public speaking GPO affordable deloitte research visualisation religion Valentine’s Day Australia Day townhouses fears engagement gen alpha learning qualitative research state Financial Planning Association focus groups 10 years education future visual home owner capital city Gen Y leadership language online shopping poker master the average aussie residents national crime rates budget coffee trades crime storytelling social research sunny days house price rise Real Estate Institute of Victoria prince george communities 2012 Sydney keynote speaker princess charlotte ageing geomapping average aussie tips mobile financial dreams public speaker sports royal future of work resource award winner collaborative transport media release networking population map ABS Tuesday Trends affordability DESTEL christianity Wellington cooking weekly earnings wealth distribution faux-cilise future of education australian communities forum generation Z friends socialising waverton curiosity ethnography Scouts follow rental stress FOMO millennials sydneycity changing face of sydney