Coogee a hotspot, and not just for reformed bad boys of rugby

By Larry Schlesinger – Friday, 09 March 2012

Suburbs close to beaches and the harbour feature prominently in John McGrath’s list of top 10 capital growth hotspots for 2012.

Most notably, Coogee in Sydney’s eastern suburbs is the only location included as a hotspot for houses and units.

Coogee is eight kilometres from the Sydney CBD and according to RP Data has a median house price of $1.69 million and a median unit price of $655,000.

The suburb includes many Art Deco and period-style homes and apartment blocks as well as a vibrant café-lined shopping strip along Coogee Bay Road and Arden Street.

It has also proved popular among rugby league players, with bad boy Todd Carney owning property in Coogee and Rabbitohs star Greg Inglis recently purchasing a semi-detached house in February.

Coogee is also home to one of the eastern beaches’ most well-known and notorious watering holes, the Coogee Bay Hotel , which currently ranks in the top 20 of most violent pub in Australia.

A $150 million multi-storey redevelopment of the hotel was approved by the previous Labor government under Part 3A planning rules that allowed the minister for planning to determine planning applications without consulting local councils.

The O’Farrell government scrapped Part 3A planning rules when it came into power last year and returned the hotel redevelopment application to the council, much to the relief of nearby residents. Last year McGrath Real Estate set up a new Coogee office to expand the group’s presence in the eastern beaches and south-east suburbs of Sydney.

According to McGrath, eastern beach suburbs like Coogee contain some of the most valuable real estate in Sydney mixed with a high number of 1960s and ’70s apartments.

“The desirability of living close to the beach and city means that houses and units are being sought by a new wave of buyers,” McGrath says.

The other 10 capital growth suburbs picked by McGrath included houses in Hunters Hill, the suburb on a small peninsula that separates the Lane Cove River and Parramatta River, apartments in Cammeray on the lower north shore.

Seven out of the 10 suburbs are within 10 kilometres of the Sydney CBD. “Buying residential real estate within 10 kilometres of the CBD in Sydney is an excellent choice, with outer-suburban areas not doing as well as city hubs and the coastal belt,” says McGrath.

The only suburb McGrath picks that is a long haul from the CBD is Palm Beach, most famous as the exterior shot for Summer Bay in Home and Away, which is a 41-kilometre drive from the centre of Sydney.

All the housing suburbs have medians under $2 million while the apartments are priced under $700,000.

“The under-$1 million market is still the strongest segment, but there’s new interest up to $2 million and even beyond in Sydney and Melbourne where higher-end buyers weren’t around as much in 2011,” he says.