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


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