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


digital economy royal family trends of 2017 plans marketing focus groups Financial Planning Week sector wide renting workforce seasons greetings area investment stay home dare to dream analysis change Vocational education experience urban taskforce Births micro social change school satisfaction baby boom equip interactive greatness keynote volunteer child care baby names australia report coffee lovers group Black Friday family data visualisation affordable transport culturally diverse social impact Australia street the australian dream list christmas Scouts men office space young australians gen z ethnography contiki wealth and income McCrindle Keynote Speakers google for education media 2015 menai data analyst 2012 mover and shaker cost of living financial fears grave decision rise of local typical australian futurist supply and demand marriages ACF2017 post rationalism acf15 NSW daily commute eliane housing trends Australian Families finance SMSF fears Real Estate Institute of Victoria apartments Christmas day hopes millionth NFP event entertainment investing media commentary affordability community event environment public speaking real in depth interviews safe Wellington conference speaker church food bank baby name predictions sydney market socialites teach nativity scene communities The ABC of XYZ buildings social life ashley mckenzie social analyst collaboration Engineering Manager Kirsten Brewer skills charity baby names property wellbeing thought leadership professional development Christmas research Christmas day weather the lucky country village christianity generations investor in the media employers program event report unemployment forecast Generation Y rising house prices high density living Jura Australia optus my business awards christmas 2017 entrepreneurs of today faux-ciliser Mark McCrindle define university degree overcast FPA speajer not for profit water marriage housing growth Caregiver omnibus Royals speakers jobs cold urban living customer sydney hills educated growing population names Elderslie-Harrington park SRE training younger generations faux-cilise christmas trees salary brisbane researcher TEDx Speaker networking TDE Adelaide nfp personalities volunteering storytelling cica EFF census Gen X ideas sydney property market wolloomooloo hobart teaching geomapping 2013 volunteers mccrindle in the media Financial Planning Association James Ward quote couple social demography DESTEL friendship engage workplace Crime Rates Australian Trends chairty debate logan South Australia the changing face of McCrindle Speaker communications father's day mythbusting ACT Report poor holiday townhouses infographics JOMO SA results poker master donation collaborative Do It Yourself shifts cash social researcher new office environmental scanning shopping centre US australian communities forum manly census fail suburbs blaxland shopping population mining boom tv census results schools HSC teleworking residents domestic Australians demographic trends casual sector wide study gen alpha mateship demographic school students workplace culture #censusfail gender Australian Population future of education Christmas in Australia English tattoos hello fresh socialising Lower Hunter earnings average aussie cultural diversity youth wedding ACF australian real estate Res Vis shopper's pick high density apartments megatrends future speaker case study insight mccrindle learner baby wealth public holiday happy holidays public speaker goal sentiments global retail income generation alpha optus trends of 2016 Netflix fresh suburb millennials land of the middle class online Generation X who is generation z Geoff Brailey aussie culture train students holidays daily telegraph identity rain going out state cancelling plans FOMO Wodonga house prices ipswich women social researchers Christchurch mccrinlde emerging technologies mobile innovative Tuesday Trends divorce rate consumer capital cities New Zealand media activity Mark McCrindle in the media sydneysiders house price rise gold coast living Christmas data annual income teacher schools students neutral bay 1994 professional speaker goals society trends personal growth medicine curiosity newspaper year 12 purpose generation Z screenagers 40 million social trends Lower Hunter Region not for profit research social shifts Sydney population university care support Northern Territory healthy future Christmas presents home ownership weather Australian community trends rental stress summer TAS darwin organisational culture toys population milestone internships property development infographic wall population growth young people financial independence technology Australia Day 2017 future of shopping events showreel average sydneysider GPO TED visualisation motivate graphs perth Education Future Forum REIV Conference resource brand social commentary Australian communities intern Tuesday Trend life learning styles weekly earnings wealth and income distribution tableau cars happiness business index baby name trends giving Hornsby Shire Council Australia Day criminal visual video divorce VET Research Director Gen Z Expert entrepreneur cartodb Merry Christmas Business analysis budget 2016 census narcissism suburban living Mount Annan-Currant Hill business global work earn hornsby alpha rent unaffordable ageing population tuesday Word Up sector long weekend princess charlotte Channel 7 money presentation trend education future meals ageing conference retirement Territory friends 1975 world high density new york times keynote speaker food insecurity cancelling event kate middleton research Charlotte financial dreams youth unemployment recap travelling professional services crows nest aged care volunteering data parents winter blues Aussies brand experience spirituality owning a home Australian Census emerging generations forum school sydney speaker Sydney Lifestyle Study australians staying home more internet trends educhat monarchy entrepreneurial know the times ease of travel demographics pharmacies Channel Seven survey design sydney event presentations Black Friday Sales office ACF17 internship language 24 million workshop apartment research data priorities Cobbitty-Leppington litter study media release NBRS 10 years jobs of the future government facts dreaming royal influence Melbourne dreams culture winter System's Architect tertiary education 23 million PSI career mccrindle research work-life infographic Northern beaches Event local community staying in car coffee mother's day future-proof New Zeland live the dream growth of sydney consumerism eliane miles builders clothing the great screenage Financial Planning Association of Australia cultural diveristy millenials demographer TED talk NEETs professional housing affordability ferry World Water Day increasing densification relevant travel qualitative research office opening learning Andrew Duffin society data cloudy days public transport global financial crisis vegemite easter religion Christmas lunch generation Willowdale McCridle future proofing January 26th social media social issues NT authenticity impact bureau trades national private wealth February 16 social commentator award winner states What is food insecurity? mccrindle tea growth publication social analysis mortgage innovation middle class screenage Australian schools Wagga Wagga Aussie wage organisations baby names report spend product pharmacy brands DIY news australian community trends report households charities The Daily Edition commuting urban development online shopping careers conference presentation leader low density student energy royal baby city financial planning household Sydney Hills Business Chamber sydney metro TEDx click earning proactive the hills Love deloitte work from home focus group employmee home tips communicate bondi wages NBRS Architecture leadership workshop education research cost slideshare choice workers social enquiry housing Northern Beaches 1980 story lifestyle research on coffee royal 2020 sun education census data award mentor mythbusters renter of the future australian micro apartments VIC sydneysider ashley fell Maxim Accounting resilience employment Australian Bureau of Statistics balance aged care puzzle Black Friday in Australia Sydney paying to work children SMART Canberra meetings faux-cilising house price hills shire social research Christmas Stats follow snapshot norwest hills moderators guide Australian Communities Trends research visualisation national wealth high school participants urban sunny days relational 1968 economic Jura Coffee house etiquette shbc ultimo Social Trend Northern Beaches Christian School property price Australian demographics Macquarie University dream lalor park rule keeper Research Executive offenders staff small business Deaths community not-for-profit cancel plans Assistant Store Manager changing face of sydney Queensland: QLD average Australian Hills Shire Council education sector CPI WA financial future education future report easy rider faith wealth inequality future proof donate professional presenters 2014 ACF 2016 bus victoria work mates engagement marrickville research services celebration potts point VET sector conferences food Myth sports sunburnt country forecasting Sydney’s south west Population Clock Skilling trend tuesday communication non profit Valentine’s Day Retail employmer business performance population map emerging trends REIV National Conference optimistic hunger McCrindle Speakers financial property market cooking politics parenting Hunter Valley research pack prince george learn home owner Tasmania world youth day Queensland sydneycity baby name baby boomers global generations wealth distribution huffington post Australian Dream ACT anzac vegetarian moreton bay year 7 australian communities trends report 2016 generational trends belief grandparents local commuters Western Australia woolworths dessert survey community engagement debt speakers pack national crime rates gig economy social lives australian social research CBD repayments tea gig Bathburst australia group session teachers waverton ABS panel housing market christian 2017 2016 census results pyrmont the hills shire trends analyst urban living index seasons thrive sustainable statistics Work place research report Kiwi Australian Home IT Specialists outsourcing digital local communities Christmas season leadership economy Gen Y rich Duchess of Cambridge 24,000,000 Performance Sentiment Index breakfast Real Estate New South Wales crime demographic transformations census 2016 commute insights capital city the average aussie stats challenge market research future of work responsive families "know the times" Sydney keynote speaker google twentyseventeen selfie