Here’s why property buyers need in-depth advice on Sydney’s secluded Northern Beaches.

April 19th, 2021

The Spit, Spit bridge, moored yachts and Sydney Harbour in the background.

With impending infrastructure change and a new wave of competition, commercial and residential property buyers need to do their research before diving in.

Where and what are the Northern Beaches?

Anyone who knows Sydney’s Northern Beaches will tell you it is paradise.

Once you’re there, you’ll have no reason to leave.

With over 56 suburbs of beautiful bushland, unspoilt beaches, harbourside water frontages, ocean views, marinas and family-friendly suburbia, the lifestyle is extremely relaxed.

The retail shopping centres are sundrenched and easy-going, the commercial hubs are effective and expanding, and new infrastructure is planned to future-proof the region.

There’s a lengthy list of wonderful reasons to live, work and play in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

But historically some buyers have avoided the area because it’s cut off from the rest of Sydney and can be difficult to access.

How vast are the Northern Beaches?

If you are just discovering the region, the Northern Beaches Council begins at the iconic Barrenjoey Lighthouse at Palm Beach and stretches 50km south to the Bold and Beautiful Swim Squad in Manly. Another 20+ unspoilt beaches lie in between these two famous locations – Whale, Bilgola, Newport, Mona Vale, Curl Curl, Dee Why, Long Reef, Freshwater…Each with a close-knit community and unique culture.

Middle Harbour is the southern border of Sydney’s Northern Beaches and offers spectacular water views and/or water frontage for Manly, Fairlight, Balgowlah Heights, Mosman, Clontarf, Seaforth, and Killarney Heights. These suburbs have stunning bush and coastal walks, hidden harbour beaches, and a lifestyle on the water. Not to mention Forty Baskets Beach which is home to the endangered White’s Seahorses!

69% of Sydney’s Northern Beaches is bushland. The Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park makes up most of the western border of the region.  This area is a natural wonder with rainforest, bushwalks, Aboriginal sites, bike tracks and waterways wrapping north to Pittwater.

In the centre, you’ll find several family-friendly suburbs, from the Glen St Theatre in Belrose, Davidson with a renowned Christmas lights display, the Bahai Temple in Ingleside, the peaceful Duffy’s Forest, and leafy Terrey Hills – all safe, relaxed and affordable communities and within 20 mins of the beach.

There is no doubt that the insular peninsular is a paradise.

So, what’s the catch?

Naturally, Sydney’s Northern Beaches region is enclosed by waterways, so access is limited. Road access is via three ways, the Spit Bridge, the Roseville Bridge, and Mona Vale Road. Plus, several ferry services connect it to the CBD. Of course, there are main roads within the region, and these are vital. But traffic congestion is an issue, particularly near the bridges during peak hour, and this has influenced commercial and residential property buyers.

What’s changing?

Recently, there is a new wave of interest in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

First, infrastructure is already improving so the accessibility will improve.

Second, in a post COVID world, Sydneysiders are revising criteria for their homes. In the last 12 months, spacious living has been desirable. People have changed their perspectives on how their home functions and where they are located. It’s desirable to have more space to live and work from home and being detached from Sydney’s CBD is desirable. Particularly if you can walk to the beach in your lunch break before returning to your home office.

Third, Sydney’s Northern Beaches region is no longer a secret having been launched into the international spotlight when Avalon claimed the largest COVID cluster in NSW. But instead of this being a deterrent for the area, it only highlighted to the world the relaxed lifestyle residents kept and even though it hurt many local businesses, it did not dent the appeal of commercial property in the region. Quite the opposite.

Bottom line: Sydney’s Northern Beaches is fast becoming a very easy option to live and work for Sydneysiders.

Completed infrastructure has also provided assurance to locals that the area is secure for the future. The Northern Beaches hospital is now complete with 488 beds. The by-pass at Forestville saves commuters 15 mins to the city. The Collaroy Seawall Project has stopped further erosion and protected the car park – but beyond it, roads, houses, and apartments. This infrastructure is forward-thinking and is the first in Australia to address coastal erosion. You’d never know it, but under the sand dunes of Collaroy lies 14,000+ tonnes of sandstone boulders.

Residents and buyers should feel confident that Northern Beaches Council is being practical and proactive.

But what impact will the future Beaches Link have?

60,000 vehicles cross the Spit Bridge each day!

It’s no secret that the Beaches Link will be the most significant infrastructure change for Sydney’s Northern Beaches.  The 7km underground tunnel will be built underneath the Spit Bridge.

First, here are some important details to note. The tunnel will have two access points on the beaches side. One at Balgowlah connecting to Condamine St, providing access to Manly, Brookvale, Dee Why. The second access point will be along the Wakehurst Parkway towards Frenchs Forrest, Mona Vale, Narrabeen and Terrey Hills.

On the city side, the two exits include Artarmon to the M2 providing access to Western Sydney, the other near Cammeray connecting to Sydney Harbour Bridge and Tunnel.

For residents, the Beaches Link promises an easier commute to the CBD and Western Sydney, and back home again. Potential buyers who once felt the region’s inaccessibility made it undesirable, will no doubt be reassessing the area. Certainly, the Beaches Link will create a new wave of interest for Sydney’s Northern Beaches residential and commercial property.

Indeed, a six-lane mostly subterranean highway, bypassing Military Road and 19 traffic lights stretching all the way to Sydney airport will see commercial developers start to rethink where truck depots are located.

Commercial property sites near the exits of the Beaches Link are already in the spotlight and have been for a while amongst buyers in the know. Local business owners are also keen to see more visitors to the area, boosting business and creating new opportunities.

But for locals this could be a double-edged sword: More accessibility means more visitors and perhaps the relaxed, low-density living turns into a busier, more populated region. The very reason residents liked the area may slowly shift.

A greater concern for many such locals from the Beaches Link is the impact of the exhaust stacks that come with the Beaches Link. These stacks, as a result of the NSW State Government’s almost internationally unique insistence, will be unfiltered. Across Sydney, the Beaches Link will need six such stacks. Two will be positioned on the north side. One at North Balgowlah right next to Balgowlah Boys Campus and the other at Seaforth. That’s two unfiltered traffic pollution sources in two of the most opulent suburbs of Sydney. Specific details about exactly where exhaust stacks will be located and their associated issues are critical for locals and potential buyers.

Lower north shore property buyers – beware the unknowns

 

What does this all mean for residential and commercial property buyers on the Northern Beaches?

Whether you are a commercial or residential property buyer, in-depth information about possibly negative impacts of the Beaches Link is essential to mitigate investment risks.  Be sure to investigate which streets will be impacted for the better or worse, which suburbs present excellent and not so excellent exposure opportunities, and which spots may end up being detrimental to your health. It’s an ongoing project, so balanced information is key.

For example, the initial construction will require 41 properties to be compulsorily acquired and the traffic conditions will worsen. Adjustments to power, water, sewer and telecommunications during the construction of the Beaches Link will disrupt many locations for five years or more. As a result, the impact may include low tenancy and even lower lifestyle appeal.

While such challenges lie ahead, buyers and residents know the constants such as the flow of the sea breeze, the surf, sand, sun and the beautiful waterways of Pittwater and Middle Harbour will remain.

With this new wave of property buying interest in Sydney’s Northern Beaches spurred on by upcoming infrastructure and other changes there will be some great buying opportunities as well as risks. Now and in the future, thorough research is and will be vital for buyers and locals alike.

For in-depth property buying advice and analysis from a team that only buys and doesn’t sell property – get in touch or call 02 9238 8089. We’ll send you our newsletters, complimentary.

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