The predominantly residential suburbs of St Ives and St Ives Chase are situated on the Upper North Shore of Sydney, approximately 18km from the Sydney CBD.
St Ives has recently experienced an increase in popularity and is now considered a suburb of choice, whereas it was once viewed as a more affordable alternative to the neighbouring suburbs of Pymble and Gordon. Amongst other attributes, the good schools, shopping centre and parks, as well as access to city and bus services mean residential property in the St Ives area is in high demand.
The area was first explored in 1788 and the first land grant was made in 1823. Land was mainly used for small-scale timber felling and commercial fruit growing. Significant development activity started following World War 2, as the demand for residential property grew and land supply in the neighbouring suburbs was exhausted.
Given the suburb developed later than neighbouring suburbs, the primary architecture style is modern homes on larger than average blocks of land as opposed to period homes. These large homes are attractive to growing families, particularly given the lack of preservation restrictions, which are found in neighbouring, older suburbs.
As well as the housing stock, in the past ten years there has been a large growth in the development of apartment blocks, particularly around the shopping centre. This is part of the government mandate for more medium density housing throughout Sydney.
Property values in St Ives and St Ives Chase have experienced significant growth over the past decade with house prices increasing by 95 percent and 110 percent respectively, in line with the Sydney average. Over the past year, price growth has remained in double digits while a slowdown was recorded across other parts of Sydney, reflecting a lack of supply in the area.
Apartment prices in St Ives recorded a more subdued rise over the longer term, increasing by 45 percent over the past ten years. However, much like houses, growth over the past year has outperformed the Sydney average with a rise of 9 percent.
The average sale price for a house in St Ives and St Ives Chase in December 2016, was $1,905,000 and $1,756,000 respectively. This is significantly higher than the Greater Sydney average of just over $1,000,000 but offers a discount compared to the neighbouring suburbs of Gordon and Pymble where the medium house price is $2,445,000 and $2,302,000 respectively. However, this gap in prices is beginning to narrow as the popularity of St Ives increases.
While the private rented sector in St Ives is much smaller than other areas across Sydney, it is growing.
At $1,200 per week for a house and $710 per week for a unit, the median rent in St Ives is higher than the Sydney averages of $650 and $560 per week. However, rental values vary significantly depending on property type and size.
St Ives is a popular home for families with just over half of residents having one or more children. 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 good public and private schools, which is attractive to families who do not want to pin their hopes on a single school.
Downsizers play a key part in the housing market in St Ives as the majority have paid off the mortgage on their larger, family homes, giving them significant buying power on their next, smaller property. Across the suburb, just over a quarter of the population are aged over 60 compared to 18 percent across Greater Sydney.
International buyers are an important source of demand for the housing market across Sydney as both owner occupiers and investors. In St Ives, there has traditionally been a large South African population. This is still the case with 12 percent of the population born there compared to just 0.8 percent across Greater Sydney.
There is also a growing Asian population in the area. The most recent census data from 2011 recorded 9 percent of residents describing their ancestry as Chinese, slightly over the Sydney average. This is likely to have increased over the past six years, as Chinese buyers look further afield.
Accessibility to employment locations is high priority for many house hunters. Residents in St Ives work in a number of locations, reflecting the suburb’s connectivity to both the centre of Sydney and other key employment locations.
The largest employment industry for people living in St Ives is the Professional, Scientific and Tech 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 St Ives is well placed to draw on the newly created wealth in these industries.
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