Artarmon, Sydney – A lower north shore gem

Artarmon is a suburb conveniently located just 9 km north of the CBD. Due to its close proximity to the Gore Hill freeway, one can be easily in the heart of Sydney within a 10 minute car ride.

1 Jersey road aka Jersey Towers

Why I like Artarmon:

  • Easy access to the Gore Hill freeway through Reserve road.
  • The west side of Herbert street is a mature built-up area where the majority of Artarmon’s apartment blocks are located. The train station conveniently serves the majority of residents within this Hampden road precinct and is 6 stops from Wynyard station.
  • Artarmon is within 5 minutes drive to the neighbouring Chatswood metropolis.
  • The area on the east side of Herbert street is leafy and secluded with quaint and older houses.
  • Village feel with its local restaurants and cafes on both sides of the Artarmon train station.


  • Most areas of Artarmon to the west side of Herbert street are fully built with apartments ranging between 20 – 35 years old.
  • There are still light industrial caryards and warehouses on the west side of Artarmon.
  • Two dominant television transmission towers dominant the skyline.

Vital statistics

Artarmon Median price $ Weekly advertised median rent $ Gross yield $ 3-year growth % 5-year growth % Average annual growth %
Apartment 513,750 450 4.55 14.42 14.42 5.73
House 1,342,500 680 2.63 24.25 28.16 8.4

Source: RP Data & Your Investment Property, March 2010


How it’s calculated:

Median price: Median price for the 12 months to November 2009

Average annual growth: Average percentage change over the past 10 years as a per annum figure

3 and 5-year growth: Median price percentage change over the past 3 and 5 years to November 2009

Weekly median advertised rent: Median price of rental listings for the 12 months to November 2009

Gross yield: Estimated rental return, based on advertised rent to median price

Macleod, Melbourne ~ Poised for the next big boom?

Macleod is located approximately 18km north-east of Melbourne CBD. 74 Ernest Jones Drive, MacleodA new housing area, Springthorpe was developed three years ago in the north-west side of this suburb by a consortium of builders. Houses were required to conform to a consistent architectural design which combined the dull grey look of granite with warm timber wood colours. The result was a stylish residential area which is distinctively different from the older south east areas of Macleod. More importantly, the grounds of this development are seamlessly incorporated into an area which includes La Trobe University, one of Melbourne’s premier learning institutions. Prices for a brand new house in this development were in the mid $600k as recent as 2 years ago. Today, a 3  – 4 bedroom house in this area could set you back  $800k’s and as much as $900k on the higher end.115 Ernest Jones Drive, Macleod

Houses currently on the market in Springthorpe estate:

  1. 3, Woodlawn Circuit ~ $817,000
  2. 74, Ernest Jones Drive ~ asking between $880,000 – $895,000
  3. 115, Ernest Jones Drive ~ $925,000

What I like about Macleod

  • The Springthorpe development is quaint and it feels like Wisteria Lane minus the desperate housewives. There are ample outdoor grounds which are quiet and serene, a perfect place for young families and children.
  • Access to the city is easy via Greensborough freeway or Waiora and Heidelberg roads which takes approximately 25 minutes.
  • It is close to Burgundy street cafes and restaurants in Heidelberg and retail and commercial businesses in neighbouring Preston.
  • Public amenities include several hospitals ~ Macleod Repatriation Hospital, Plenty Hospital and Austin Hospital & Repatriation Centre. Local schools include Macleod College, La Trobe Secondary College and Macleod Pre School.
  • Bundoora, which is a neighbouring suburb further north has various new developments, notably University Hill which is an integrated residential, retail and commercial project. This will augur well for investors in Macleod.3WoodlawnCircuitMacleod.jpg


  • Public transport is poor if you live in the Springthorpe development. However, the heart of Macleod is serviced by the Macleod trains whilst buses and trams are available on Plenty road on the western side of La Trobe University.

Investors should take note the average house price in Macleod is $442,000 as at July 2009. Therefore, prices in the Springthorpe estate is significantly higher than the rest of the suburb.


Vital statistics

Median house price $371,000

Average annual growth 10.4%

5-year growth 41.6%

Weekly median advertised rent $300

Gross yield 4.2%

Source: Your Investment Property, July 2009


How it’s calculated:

Median price: Median price for the 12 months to March 2009

Average annual growth: Average percentage change over the past 10 years as a per annum figure

5-year growth: Median price percentage change over the past 5 years to March 2009

Weekly median advertised rent: Median price of rental listings for the 12 months to March 2009

Gross yield: Estimated rental return, based on advertised rent to median price

3 of Inner West’s water foreshore suburbs ~ Meadowbank, Rhodes and Breakfast Point


Comparative analysis of 3 of Inner West’s water foreshore suburbs ~ Meadowbank, Rhodes and Breakfast Point

Why I like Meadowbank

· The Billbergia development at Bowden street and Bay Drive enjoys a more strategic location due over Ralan’s development on Belmore street to its close proximity to the Meadowbank train station and ferry terminal.

· Water views from these units enjoy a serene east and south-east aspect.

· Relatively quiet and secluded due to the south-end cul-de-sac of Bowden street and Bay Drive.

· Convenience of Aldi and Franklin supermarkets, post office, newsagent, delicatessen, cafe and restaurants in the Bilbergia development.

· Adjoining reserve / park which is great for walking, cycling and recreation.


· Old warehouses and industrial facilities still occupy the north end of the Bilbergia development although it is understood that future relocation plans have been earmarked.

· The railway bridge on the west and south side of Bilbergia’s development may be unsightly to some.

Note: The Ralan development on Belmore street is less favourable due to its location being further away from the Meadowbank train station and ferry terminal. This general aspect of this development is south and there may be issues with natural light in certain apartments within this development.

Why I like Rhodes

· The earlier phases of Mirvac and Meriton’s developments along Rider Boulevard, Mary and Marquet streets enjoy closer vicinity to the Rhodes shopping centre and Rhodes train station. Ikea, Coles, Harris Farm, ANZ, Westpac, Bing Lee, Flight Centre, Optus and Telstra are major anchor tenants of this Mirvac owned shopping centre.

· I believe it is a suburb conducive to both investor and owner-occupier due to the convenience of the Rhodes shopping centre and strong rental demand.

· From an investment point of view, the Rhodes business park augurs well for the future development of this suburb. Major businesses located in the business park include National Australia Bank, Australand, Hewlett Packard, Alcatel-Lucent, Lion Nation, Unysis and Nestle.

· Walking and cycling track along the water foreshore towards Homebush Bay and Bicentennial Park.

· Close proximity to facilities around Sydney Olympic centre and Homebush Bay

· Well-lit, new and relatively large Rhodes train station with excellent disabled / wheel-chair facilities.


· On-going cleaning-up of industrial waste on its water foreshores.

· Walker street being a major access road to Rhodes is unkempt and very poorly maintained by Council.

Why I like Breakfast Point

· Water views of this suburb enjoy the favoured north and east views of the Parramatta river.

· Apartment dwellings in this suburb are generally bright with generous amounts of natural light

· Generally more secluded and quiet surrounds and great for owner-occupier.


· Only form of public transport is buses although neighbouring Cabarita has private ferry service.

· Depending on occupant preference, Breakfast Point has a relatively longer access from Yaralla street off Concord road which takes an additional 10 minutes by car compared to easier access to Meadowbank and Rhodes from Concord road.


Criteria MeadowbankPostcode: 2114 RhodesPostcode: 2138 Breakfast PointPostcode: 2137

Major developers Bilbergia, Ralan Bilbergia, Mirvac, Meriton, Rose Property Group, Breakfast Point
Public Transport Bus, train and ferry Bus and train Bus only
Local Council City of Ryde City Council City of Canada Bay Council City of Canada Bay Council
Aspect of water views Generally east view of Parramatta river, smaller extent south and west views Generally west view of Homebush bay, smaller extent east views of Brays Bay Generally north and east views of Parramatta river and Hen & Chicken Bay, smaller extent west views of Majors Bay
*UnitsAverage prices

Average annual growth

Average gross rental yield










How to get there (shortest route from main local arterial road) 1km via entry point from Church street 500m via entry point from Concord road 3km via entry point from Concord road
Population size:Australians




Country of Origin:Born Overseas – Top 5:

Australia 61%

China 5%

UK 4%

India 3%

Korea 3%

Hong Kong 2%

Australia 66%

Italy 5%

China 4%

UK 4%

New Zealand 2%

Korea 2%

Australia 65%

Italy 8%

UK 3%

China 3%

Korea 2%

New Zealand 2%

Age statistics:

20 – 39

40 – 59

60 +

5 – 19

0 – 4
















Family stats – Top 3

Married 51%

Never Married 33%

Widowed 7%

Married 53%

Never Married 32%

Widowed 7%

Married 54%

Never Married 32%

Widowed 6%

Religion – Top 3

Catholic 35%

Anglican 18%

No religion 15%

Catholic 48%

Anglican 17%

No religion 12%

Catholic 51%

Anglican 16%

No religion 11%

Occupation – Top 3

Professional 11%

Intermediate 8%

Associate Professional 6%

Professional 11%

Intermediate 9%

Tradesperson 6%

Professional 10%

Intermediate 8%

Tradesperson 6%

Education – Top 5

Not attending (working) 73%

Infants / Primary 8%

Secondary 6%

University / Tertiary 6%

Technical 4%

Not attending (working) 73%

Infants / Primary 8%

Secondary 8%

University / Tertiary 5%

Technical 3%

Not attending (working) 75%

Infants / Primary 8%

Secondary 7%

University / Tertiary 5%

Technical 3%

Transport to work – Top 5

Car (Driver) 23%

Train only 8%

Car (Passenger) 3%

Train & Other 2%

Walked 2%

Car (Driver) 26%

Train only 7%

Car (Passenger) 2%

Train & Other 2%

Walked 2%

Car (Driver) 26%

Train only 4%

Train & Other 3%

Car (Passenger) 3%

Work at home 1%

Dwelling type

House 53%

Apartment 39%

Semi / Terrace 4%

House 85%

Apartment 6%

Semi / Terrace 6%

House 75%

Apartment 13%

Semi / Terrace 6%

Nature of occupancy

Fully Owned 39%

Rented 37%

Purchasing 19%

Fully Owned 55%

Rented 20%

Purchasing 19%

Fully Owned 53%

Rented 22%

Purchasing 18%

Monthly loan repayment

$1,500 +

$1,000 – $1,199

$800 – $999










Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics and research by Australian Property Monitors

Specific analysis on the following projects available: 1. Mirvac, Rhodes: Aldina, Tandara; Meriton, Rhodes: Sienna By the Bay, Peninsula: Bilbergia, Rhodes: VQ Village Quay; Bilbergia, Meadowbank: Angas; Breakfast Point, Breakfast Point.

Motto vs Verve, Erskineville

Comparative analysis of 2 new developments in Erskineville ~ Motto vs Verve





Austcorp AV Jennings
Architect Allen Jack & Cottier

Turner & Associates

2, Nassau Lane, Erskineville 2 – 4 Coulson street, Erskineville
No. of units

90 one bedroom units

56 two bedroom units

11 three bedroom units

200 units

102 units

Outdoor pool, gym, 1 cafe / retail outlet None
Proximity to train station

600m to Erskineville train station, 700m to St Peters train station 400m to St Peters train station, 800m to Erskineville train station
Quality of finishes and inclusions

(Please refer to inclusions) (Please refer to inclusions)

1 bedroom

2 bedroom

3 bedroom terrace / 3 bedroom

From $470k

From $585k

From $925k

From $465k

From $534k


*Average price per sqm $

1 bedroom

2 bedroom




From $5.2k

Estimated completion date


20 December 2009

*Based on Asking price of typical unit divided by total internal and external living areas only (does not include car park and storage space).

Verve is closer to the train station although the north aspect of Verve is fronting Coulson street. Traffic noise can be an issue along Coulson street. Units fronting the north west corner of Coulson street will experience noise from the trains.

Motto is located on the corner of Eve street and Nassau Lane. Although slightly further from the train station, there is less traffic noise around its vicinity. The inclusions and finishings for Motto is of higher quality than Verve. Motto offers an outdoor pool and gym whilst there are no facilities for the Verve development. Investors should confirm approximately strata levies for both development.

Bondi beach ~ one of Australia’s most famous icons

Bondi beach, Sydney

Bondi beach is located 9km to the east of Sydney’s CBD. It is one of Sydney, and for that matter, Australia’s most popular tourist attractions.

Investors should take note there are 3 distinct suburbs ~ Bondi, Bondi Beach and Bondi Junction. This profile is about Bondi Beach.

What I like about Bondi beach

  • If you have ample time, do the Bondi to Bronte walk and take in the views of the ocean as you reflect on what a beautiful city that is Sydney. Then take a dip in the Rockpool to cool off. Head over to Icebergs or the cheaper option of the RSL next door for some fresh Sydney rock oysters and wash it down with a crisp glass of sauvignon blanc while soaking up the breath-taking views of the surf and beach life. Truly, life can’t get any better than this!
  • There is no shortage of cafes, restaurants, bars, shops and local attractions.


  • This place can be very busy with a lot of tourists during weekends.


Bondi Beach



Median house price $



Average annual growth %



5-year growth %



Weekly median rent $



Gross yield %



Source: Your Investment Property, April 2009


How it’s calculated:

Median price: Median price for the 12 months to March 2009

Average annual growth: Average percentage change over the past 10 years as a per annum figure

5-year growth: Median price percentage change over the past 5 years to March 2009

Weekly median advertised rent: Median price of rental listings for the 12 months to March 2009


City Beach, Perth Australia ~ Sydney’s lifestyle and more……without the rat race

Indian ocean northern coastline, Perth Australia

Indian ocean northern coastline, Perth Australia

City Beach is located 10km directly west of Perth’s CBD. Assessibility to this ocean front suburb from the city is via the direct route of Cambridge street and Oceanic Drive. The feeling of being on vacation takes over the moment you hit West Coast Highway. Meander along Challenger Parade and you will find casual joggers, dog-walkers, cyclists and holiday makers taking in the sun, wind and surf of the Indian Ocean.

Why I like City Beach

  • You feel like being in a permanent vacation time capsule. The simmering Indian Ocean envelopes the horizon in front of you. Look left from the beach and you will see as far as 20km south towards Fremantle and beyond. Look right and the coastline extends 20km north to Hillarys. For the serious runners and cyclists, a round trip either way will test your endurance to the max.
  • Beautiful sunsets over the Indian ocean.
  • This ocean front suburb is relatively more secluded and enjoys similar amenities without the fuss and commotion compared to it’s neighbouring Cottesloe (pictured below) to the south and Scarborough  to the north where cafes and restaurants abound with both locals and tourists.


  • Time passes slowly here. I mean, very very slowly. Then again, is that a problem when you’re on vacation? Bondi, eat your heart out!

Vital statistics

Median house price $1,800,000

Average annual growth 15%

5-year growth 113%

Weekly median advertised rent $800

Gross yield 2.3%

Source: Your Investment Property, July 2009


How it’s calculated:

Median price: Median price for the 12 months to March 2009

Average annual growth: Average percentage change over the past 10 years as a per annum figure

5-year growth: Median price percentage change over the past 5 years to March 2009

Weekly median advertised rent: Median price of rental listings for the 12 months to March 2009

Gross yield: Estimated rental return, based on advertised rent to median price

Macquarie Park, Sydney ~ set for a transformation?

Macquarie Park is located approximately 16km from Sydney’s CBD. Much has been said about the renewed vigour surrounding this suburb due to recent addition of 3 new train stations and new commercial property projects. It is also home to many new organisations taking up residence in commercial complexes. However, I remain a little skeptical for the following a few key reasons.Apartment block, Fontenoy road, Macquarie Park

Main drawbacks

  1. There are no current or foreseeable new residential developments in this suburb. There are no houses and majority of accomodation in this area consists of apartments blocks which are dated and old. Most 2 bedroom apartments in this suburb come with a single bathroom.
  2. Due to its close proximity to Macquarie University, investment units in this suburb consist mainly student accommodation with a small potential for the executive market due to new IT & T companies such as Optus relocating to this area.
  3. The new Macquarie Park train station is situated on the corner of Lane Cove and Waterloo roads. This location albeit close to some commercial complexes is a fair walk for residents along the Fontenoy and Khartoum roads area and the majority of residents on the western side of Epping road.
  4. The new Macquarie University train station will benefit apartment blocks along the south side of Herring road, Lachlan Avenue and Ivanhoe Place. However, these apartments are old and dated. Recently, there has been a spate of newly renovated apartments in this area where owners are trying to cash in with small upgrades to get out of this suburb.
  5. The new North Ryde train station on Delhi road is also in the middle of a commercial hub with little residential housing.

A newly completed block of apartments and townhouses on Waterloo road located on the north west end of Macquarie University were quickly snapped up by investors because prices were ranging between the mid $500k to $600k for a 3 bedroom apartment. At this price range, I have reservations about build quality. However, I doubt there are many owner-occupiers and most of these will be rented to groups of students who will share in paying up to $600 per week for a 3 bedroom apartment with little concern for build quality.

The capital growth statistics for this suburb have been poor and in my opinion, it is mainly due to the old and dated housing mentioned above. Rental yield is fair at 5.23% for these old housing as they are mainly supported by students. I do not foresee any significant improvement in capital growth for these apartments in the near future.

Last Words

I believe houses with good north aspects in neighbouring suburbs of North Ryde and Marsfield located on the west side of Epping road would be a better bet. Failing which, I think this is a suburb more suited for work rather than to live.


Vital statistics ~ Macquarie Park

Median unit price $368,000

Average annual growth 7.02%

5-year growth 0.82%

Weekly median advertised rent $370

Gross yield 5.23%

Source: Your Investment Property, July 2009


How it’s calculated:

Median price: Median price for the 12 months to March 2009

Average annual growth: Average percentage change over the past 10 years as a per annum figure

5-year growth: Median price percentage change over the past 5 years to March 2009

Weekly median advertised rent: Median price of rental listings for the 12 months to March 2009

Gross yield: Estimated rental return, based on advertised rent to median price

Avondale vs Ironbark, Pymble

Comparative analysis

~ Ironbark, Pymble vs Avondale, Pymble






Glenside Group





2 – 12 Avon Road, Pymble

2 – 6 Clysdale Place, Pymble

Proximity to train station

50m to Pymble train station

500m to Pymble train station

No. of units

168 units set over 5 buildings

34 units




Quality of finishes and inclusions

Not available here

(Please refer to Schedule of Finishes)


1 bedroom

2 bedroom 1 bathroom

2 bedroom 2 bathroom

3 bedroom 2 bathroom

From $415k

From $520k

From $578k

From $739k

From $460k

Not applicable


From $750k

**Average price per sqm for 2 bedder

$5,400 per sqm

$5,600 per sqm

Estimated completion date

Stage 1: September 2010

Stage 2 – April 2011

December 2009

*Prices are compiled based on publicly available information from real estate and developers’ websites at time of analysis. Prices are subject to subsequent change.

**Based on Asking price of typical unit divided by total internal and external living areas only (does not include car park and storage space). Please note average price may differ significantly for different apartments within same development.

Firstly, it is important to note that Pacific highway which meanders all the way north to Newcastle from North Sydney is built on a ridge which slopes down towards the west. Both developments in Pymble are located on the west side of Pacific highway. Therefore, the favoured north and north-east aspects may experience traffic noise from the highway. Avondale’s development is sandwiched between Pacific highway on the north & east and the train line on the south & west.

The location of Meriton’s development being directly opposite Pymble train station takes the nod over Avondale. It is important to note Meriton’s development is a horse-shoe shape built around 2 private houses and is sloping down towards the west. In addition, all traffic from Clysdale Place can only turn left onto Pacific Highway.


Some of Meriton’s 2 bedroom units have 1.5 bathrooms, ie a second toilet with wash basin at prices which are slightly less than the 2 bedroom units with 2 bathrooms. I believe this is a good floorplan for buyers such as young couples who may not need or fully utilise a second bathroom but will have a powder room for guests whilst keeping the main bathroom for their sole private use.

A key attraction for Pymble is that certain areas are very green, leafy and quiet. Having an address in Pymble gives access to some of north shore’s top schools such as PLC, Barker’s College, Ravenswood and Knox Grammar to name a few.


How to win at an auction

Despite all the written literature about strategies and tactics during an auction, I believe there are no hard and fast rules for winning. It comes down to a host of variables during auction day and some sheer common sense. I was successful at my first auction and more importantly, I bought the right property at the right time, in the right location and at the right price.

Property auction

This was my experience:

  • Research on the location and maximum price the property is worth. I believe this is the most important aspect. Once you have decided the location is strategic, you need to ensure you do not over-bid and consequently, over-capitalise on the investment.
  • Research the market. I think it is important to understand and estimate the point at which the property market is at, that is, is it a weak, falling or strong market and what are the auction clearance rates? By doing so, you will be able to gauge the extent of whether it’s a buyer’s or seller’s market and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • Dress to impress? This is one of the strategies “experts” advocate. I was in a T-shirt and my favourite pair of board shorts and loafers and I beat 6 other parties, one of which was a couple who were dressed in very smart business attire. Different attire means different things to different people. To me, even a bankrupt can be dressed in an Armani suit and drive a nice sports car without a dollar and chock full of credit cards maxed out in his wallet.
  • Make yourself notice? This is another tactic that “so-called” experts agree you need to do during an auction. I was standing as far back as possible in a large hotel ballroom where there were at least 200 people, half of which were seated in classroom style facing the auctioneer. I could see the proceedings in the entire room whilst fellow bidders were constantly turning back to try and ascertain who I was.
  • Don’t bid too early. This is a strategy I believe in. Why bid when the property is not even on the market yet? I started bidding towards the end of the auction and made 8 bids. One can also keep asking the auctioneer if the reserve price has been met. My winning bid was $1,500 higher than my closest competitor.
  • Intimidating your competitors with icy stares and gestures? I kept looking ahead and did not bother with what my competitors were doing. I was prepared to walk away with nothing but this calls for a very strict discipline of not going over my budget and what I have done in my research.

Thus far, I have been successful in purchasing investment properties at all auctions for which I have made bids. I have ensured  I have not over-bid on the final price through extensive research and the marginal price difference for which I have managed to be successful.

How to to buy the right property – Quick 3-step approach

The following is a general 3-step approach to buying the right property although these steps may be a little different depending on the objectives of an investor and an owner-occupier:

1. Right cycle. The property market moves in cycles and different states have different cycles. One needs to identify the market is close to bottoming out in a particular state / region to get into the market.

2. Right suburb. Identify suburbs with a good track record for capital growth. Suburbs with good amenties such as public transport, schools, business parks and local attractions / lifestyle options but have yet to see any significant rise in prices compared to its neighbouring areas. Suburbs with good upside potential will prove to be good long term investments when gentrification happens. Always choose a strategic location within the suburb such as proximity to ferry wharf, train station, local shops or easy access to main arterial road. These areas within the suburb will always fair bettter than others which are further away from these conveniences.

3. Right property and price. The old adage “worst property in the best street” may only hold true depending on your investment objectives. You may require a bigger budget to renovate and attract tenants if you are an investor.  Once you have found the right property in the right location, the last criteria would be to ensure you pay the right price. Research on the price of similar properties transacted in the past, check out the median price for apartments or house in the suburb (and know the limitations and flaws about median prices). Talking to neighbours or the person mowing the lawn in your chosen suburb is always a good way to find out more useful information.

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