The family suburbs of Gordon, Killara, East Killara, Pymble and West Pymble are situated within Ku-ring-gai, located 16 kilometres north of the Sydney CBD.
The area is well connected to the major employment centres of Sydney, North Sydney, Chatswood and Macquarie Park by road, rail and bus. The area also benefits from a number of highly regarded schools, golf courses and National Parks.
Settlement in the area began in the 1820s when land was mainly used for timber, farming and orchards. Eventually, agriculture gave way to residential development in the late 19th century, spurred by the opening of the North Shore railway line.
Some growth took place in the first half of the 20th century but significant development occurred in the post-war years as large land holdings were subdivided and many units were built along the Pacific Highway. This has continued recently as part of the government’s focus on increasing medium density housing around existing infrastructure and retail centres.
Consequently, the suburbs along the railway have seen their composition of housing stock evolve significantly over the past decade. In 2006, units made up 25 percent of stock in Killara and Gordon and 11 percent in Pymble. This has now increased to nearly half and 22 percent of residential property respectively. This development activity has brought with it a number of benefits to the community, including more cafes, restaurants, local amenities and further employment opportunities.
West Pymble and East Killara, a short drive from the train stations, remain dominated by houses. However, there are fewer Federation homes as the suburbs developed later and they therefore benefit from a lack of preservation restrictions.
Across the suburbs, the median house price in January 2017 was $2.3 million, over twice the average for Greater Sydney. There is a premium for being closer to the city and in close proximity to a train station. Killara is the most expensive with an average house price of over $2.5 million compared to West Pymble at $1.7 million.
House prices have experienced significant growth over the past decade, increasing by 103 percent, in line with the Sydney average. Across the suburbs, West Pymble and Pymble experienced the strongest growth with house prices increasing 113 percent, reducing the value gap with suburbs closer to the city. Strong growth has continued over the past 12 months, driven by a lack of supply across the area, with house prices across the five suburbs increasing by 13 percent, outperforming the Sydney average.
Units in the area had a median value of $970,000 in January 2017, less of a premium than houses when compared to Sydney at just one third more expensive. Similarly to house prices, apartment values vary in price along the train line. Pymble is roughly 10 percent cheaper than those in Killara and Gordon.
Growth in unit prices has been slightly more subdued than houses with an increase of 83 percent over the past decade. However, much like houses, price rises over the past year have outperformed the Sydney average with an increase of 11 percent.
The proportion of private renters varies significantly across the area. Unsurprisingly, there is a higher concentration in the areas with more medium density housing.
Gordon has the highest proportion with 22 percent of the residents private renting, followed by Killara with 18 percent. Conversely, just 9 percent of residents in West Pymble are private renters.
Across the suburbs, the median weekly rental value was $1,200 for a house and $700 for a unit in January 2017, equating to average yields of 2.8 percent and 3.7 percent respectively.
Across the five suburbs, families with children make up over half the residents, accounting for 57 percent compared to an average of 45 percent across Sydney. This drives strong demand for housing suitable for children with outside space and within close proximity to schools. The area benefits from a wide choice of notable public and private schools, which is attractive to families who do not want to pin their hopes on a single school.
International buyers are an important source of demand for the housing market across Sydney as both owner occupiers and investors. Of the five suburbs, East Killara has the highest proportion of residents born overseas, accounting for 45 percent of the population with a particular dominance of residents from China and Hong Kong.
Accessibility to employment locations is high priority for many house hunters. Residents across the area work in a number of locations, reflecting the suburbs' connectivity to major employment hubs.
The largest employment industry for people living in the five suburbs is the Professional, Scientific and Technology sector accounting for 18 percent of employees compared to an average of 10 percent across Sydney. This industry is the fastest growing in Sydney meaning the area is well placed to draw on the newly created wealth in these industries.
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