Paddington Versus Woollahra: How To Pick Your Next Suburb

It’s always important to have a look at the suburbs next to the area you’re interested in buying, and to weigh up the pros and cons.

Take the neighbouring suburbs of trendy Paddington and leafy Woollahra. They are some of the east’s most coveted suburbs, but while they’re geographically close and have some similarities, there are also distinct benefits to each that make all the difference for those home hunting in the east.

Paddington, which borders the up-and-coming areas Surry Hills and Darlinghurst, is three kilometres away from the CBD. Drive a kilometre further east and you’re in Woollahra, which brushes shoulders with Double Bay and Bondi.

As with almost all other suburbs in Sydney, the streets on the border between the two suburbs reveal few differences and the two areas have become more blended in recent years. For many homes along this stretch, the only difference in lifestyle is what the address is on the envelope of your mail.

Properties in east Paddington and west Woollahra are often wanted by the same home buyers and are usually at similar price tags on a per square metre basis, particularly around Queen Street Village.

Where a difference starts to really become obvious is for homebuyers looking for freestanding houses – there just aren’t that many in Paddington – and those comparing west Paddington with east Woollahra.

House hunters who prefer Paddington are often looking for the less-gentrified feel of the western part of the suburb, where it borders Surry Hills. It has an edgier neighbourhood with new restaurants and cafes, provides a location closer to the city and is a bit more budget friendly. It’s also walking distance to the Harbour, which attracts those with an active lifestyle.

As a result, it is generally attractive to a younger crowd of purchasers and renters, often attracted by the area’s proximity to university hubs. Rent is also more affordable in Paddington, at $1,050 for houses and $520 apartments, according to CoreLogic. In Woollahra, houses rent for $1,200 a week and the median advertised weekly apartment rent is $678.

In the western section of Paddington, a four-bedroom terrace with parking will sell for about $3 million to $3.5 million in today’s market. If that same terrace was further east in Paddington, on Paddington Street or Windsor Street, the cost would be in the high-$4million, and increasing as buyers head into Woollahra.

A two-bedroom apartment on Glenmore Road in Paddington sold in September for $1.01 million. And in recent weeks, a 70 square metre one-bedroom apartment in Woollahra at 6/166 Queen Street sold for $1.51 million to downsizers.

While there was plenty of younger buyer interest at the auction, there’s pressure from all different buyer groups in the area at the moment creating significant levels of competition. Woollahra’s proximity to Bondi Junction, including the Westfield retail centre and the train station, is a draw card for some homebuyers – particularly those looking in the eastern part of the suburb within walking distance of this amenity.

And for many homebuyers, particularly young families, it’s all about the school zone and the best education opportunities for their children. Speak to your agent about which school catchment zone covers each suburb and street, as this may also affect your purchasing decisions.

Some people want to be in Glenmore Road Public School Catchment, while others are set on Woollahra School. Some school catchments overlap in these areas.

Paddington:

  • Distance from CBD: 3 kilometres
  • Three-bedroom house: $1.995 million
  • Two-bedroom apartment: $1.015 million
  • Dwelling breakdown: 6.3% houses, 61.7% terraces, 30.7% apartments, 0.6% ‘other’
  • Renters: 46.6%

Woollahra:

  • Distance from CBD: 4 kilometres
  • Three-bedroom house: $2.1 million
  • Two-bedroom apartment: $888,000
  • Dwelling breakdown: 16.3% houses, 36% terraces, 47.5% apartments, 0.1% ‘other’
  • Renters: 36.3%

Source: Australian Property Monitors, ABS Census 2011

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