Small inner city houses at decent prices


It’s hard to get a read on some Sydney suburbs, where on the one hand buyers now seem less interested in overpaying for small homes in convenient locations, but on the other, will extend the budget for a large plot in an outer-ring neighbourhood.

It wasn’t always like this, of course. While Sydney families have often sought middle to outer ring areas like those on the north shore, middle west or south, recent years have seen a big shift to the inner city.

Are the scales tipping back the other way now? Prices on smaller inner city homes, at least, currently seem closer to $1m than larger properties out in the ‘burbs. Perhaps the inner city family is drifting back to the suburban sprawl.


Finding an affordable house in a suburb like Newtown, just four kilometres from the CBD, has become rather difficult. And yet, as I just alluded to, smaller homes there can sell for considerably less than what you’d pay 25 kilometres away, say, in the Hills District.

For instance, a really attractive Newtown cottage sold for $1.2m last weekend, as per Australian Property Monitors. Now that’s not cheap, but nor is it a price that’s out of the question for a double income family, especially in light of Sydney’s largely overpriced market.

The median price on two bedroom houses in Newtown is $1.25m, according to REA Group.

But, is often the case, the price jumps dramatically with an extra bedroom, up to $1.7m, says REA Group. The number of bedrooms typically available in inner city properties – together with challenges of renovating or extending older properties – is likely to be influencing some buying decisions in those areas.

Recent sales in Newtown

$1.49m, 2 bedroom terrace on Whitehorse St

$1.5m, 3 bedroom terrace on Bishopgate St

$1m, 1 bedroom single-level house on Bedford St

Closer to the water in Birchgrove

Similarly, a two bedroom terrace house in Birchgrove just sold for a lower price than I would have expected for an inner city suburb. It went for $1.3m, where the suburb median is $1.4, according to REA Group.

Only five kilometres from the CBD, Birchgrove is on the north-west side of Balmain, close to the harbour and rather appealing. That just sold sandstone terrace might be small, but its historic exterior has been updated with a sleek interior, complimented by cosy back courtyard.

The price might seem high for a property of just 150 square metres (as per, but when people are paying millions for inner city apartments and multi-millions for middle-ring mansions, it might just be a bargain.

Recent sales

$1.45m, 2 bedroom cottage on Cover St

$1.16m, 2 bedroom cottage on Short St

$1.3m, 2 bedroom cottage on Church St


Auction clearances in inner suburbs have generally been down lately.

In the week to August 27, the following clearance rates were posted:

Inner South West 54%  

Inner West 69%

City and Inner South 77%

Figures from CoreLogic RP Data.