Sydney's most liveable suburbs: The urban living index

Thursday, November 19, 2015

With Sydney’s population set to reach 5 million next year, there are significant densification trends underway. Sydneysiders are increasingly embracing medium and high density housing, 7 in 10 either have lived in a unit/apartment or are currently living in one. Of Sydneysiders who have never lived in a high density setting, 50% would consider unit/apartment living and this rises to 63% for Generation Y.

“Over the last decade there has been a big swing in Sydney to more urban living generally in apartments. To gain a clearer understanding of urban living patterns and satisfaction Urban Taskforce Australia commissioned McCrindle, experts in researching demographic data to develop the Urban Living Index.”, said Urban Taskforce CEO, Chris Johnson.

Mark McCrindle, Principal of McCrindle Research says, “The challenge for Sydney’s future is to ensure that it responds to population growth yet maintains its world-beating lifestyle and that its liveability rises to match its increasing density, and that is why we have developed the Urban Living Index.”


Measuring the liveability of areas across Sydney

The Urban Living Index is an ongoing measure of the liveability of suburbs in Sydney. This instrument considers the affordability, community, employability, amenity and accessibility of an area to determine how liveable it is.

The Planning Regions of Sydney

The NSW Planning Regions were developed by the NSW government to allow for cohesive and integrated planning under A Plan for Growing Sydney. Exploring the Index across the six regions assists in understanding how they are equipped to respond to a high density population and where there are opportunities for improvement in the quality of urban living.

Sydney’s most liveable suburbs

This analysis of Sydney’s 228 suburbs shows that Surry Hills and Crows Nest - Waverton are Sydney’s leaders with the top rated Index of 85. In the Central planning region after Surry Hills was Marrickville with 83, in the North it was North Sydney – Lavender Bay with 82, West Central was Parramatta – Rosehill 80 followed by North Parramatta 75, South was Hurstville 76 followed by South Hurstville – Blakehurst 74, South West was Liverpool – Warwick Farm 66 followed by Cabramatta – Lansvale and West was Springwood – Winmalee 59 followed by Blaxland – Warrimoo – Lapstone 59. The results show a strong correlation between high density housing and urban liveability with seven of the top ten rated suburbs in the top twenty highest density suburbs in Sydney.

Sentiment toward housing affordability

One of the key drivers of the growth in high density housing is Sydney’s housing affordability challenge. When Sydneysiders were asked if they had to start over and buy into the current property market, more than 3 in 5 (61%) of Sydneysiders would probably or definitely be unable to do so. Sydneysiders are also not convinced that the affordability challenge will change with 51% saying that in three years’ time their area will be less affordable than it is today, and only 11% saying it will be more affordable. This is even higher in the West planning region where 56% say it will be less affordable. It is also higher amongst Generation Y (56%) than Baby Boomers (47%). More than half of all Sydneysiders (59%) say that Sydney’s housing affordability is a massive challenge for their children’s generation with an additional 29% saying it is a significant challenge.

More than half of all Sydneysiders (57%) state that the construction of units and apartments assists affordability. More than a third of Sydneysiders support the idea of allowing first home buyers to access their superannuation to buy a home (37%) and increasing unit/apartment construction (36%) while only 1 in 5 (22%) supports the tightening of bank lending rules as a solution to affordability.

The most valuable assets of Sydneysiders

When it comes to housing, Sydneysiders prioritise the intangibles (location and community) above the tangibles (buildings and fittings) by a factor of 2 to 1. They also prioritise current liveability above long term price growth, also by a factor of 2 to 1 and value walkable communities above more mobile lifestyles by a factor of 6 to 1. Sydneysiders generally like their local community assets such as shops and cafes with more than half (52%) saying they totally love or really like them compared to just 6% who are indifferent to this amenity. Twice as many (32%) believe that amenities in their local community will increase over the next 3 years compared to those who think there will be a decrease (16%). Sydneysiders are also positive about the growing infrastructure, transport and accessibility of their local area, with 37% expecting it to increase over the next three years compared to 14% expecting a decrease.

The Urban Living Index report, interactive maps and further details on Sydney’s six planning regions are all available at The Urban Living Index results and rankings will be launched at a breakfast event at Clayton Utz, Level 5 1 Bligh Street, Sydney on the 10th December 2015, 7:30am for 8am start. Speakers will be Chris Johnson and Mark McCrindle.

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare

Last 150 Articles


consumer royal family dreaming renter of the future children communities volunteer future of work Generation X generations economy urban living index social research marriage wealth suburb living bureau school government storytelling 40 million Northern Beaches Christian School micro professional services belief volunteering teach meals investment public holiday aged care puzzle VET communicate optus my business awards divorce rate social researchers daily commute domestic weekly earnings personalities social enquiry millennials online shopping Australian Bureau of Statistics NEETs social media education sector future of shopping huffington post cica tattoos events Work place google cancelling plans social trends faith tertiary education shopping housing growth social issues women entrepreneurs of today investing teleworking anzac micro apartments water household professional presenters Australian Trends going out the australian dream ipswich visualisation Research Director stay home EFF property price sydney metro NFP event SRE office space high school not-for-profit 23 million research rent internships Deaths potts point research data buildings experience cost shbc woolworths South Australia schools students urban travel population growth identity culture JOMO tips collaboration daily telegraph Mark McCrindle 2015 google for education leadership workshop staying in motivate organisational culture aussie culture royal baby communications conference award 2020 residents financial dreams NBRS tableau ferry DIY office award winner mythbusting mccrindle in the media 2012 sector qualitative research skills proactive baby global financial crisis Social Trend australian social research results data norwest home ownership christian cars Geoff Brailey social researcher Financial Planning Week gig customer 2016 education travelling balance office opening etiquette Aussies panel Word Up Res Vis population map challenge rising house prices generation high density apartments clothing earnings marrickville names sun English financial independence survey design village trends of 2017 Births faux-cilising goals Queensland IT Specialists sydneysiders 2013 video work mates entertainment VIC builders healthy future house prices mateship faux-ciliser average sydneysider brand Christmas presents 1968 darwin income purpose TEDx wedding culturally diverse royal influence future proof Population Clock innovative trend tuesday selfie Bathburst The ABC of XYZ toys January 26th workforce product easy rider Vocational education Aussie social impact generational trends Territory finance focus group baby name leadership social lives brisbane social commentator stats year 12 gen alpha cancelling event young australians urban taskforce new office repayments unemployment grave decision workshop employers youth 2016 census results keynote waverton media socialites sydneycity story Channel 7 media release states Love chairty fresh data visualisation participants "know the times" employment shifts contiki learning pharmacy digital environmental scanning February 16 research pack increasing densification summer entrepreneur Australia Day ACF Australian schools geomapping paying to work omnibus leader social shifts brands townhouses mccrindle research non profit insights urban living financial Western Australia sector wide study gig economy TED talk report medicine earning Andrew Duffin emerging generations coffee speakers Christchurch ACF17 safe ethnography ultimo area wolloomooloo sustainable not for profit blaxland capital city conference speaker census 2016 trends Kirsten Brewer housing affordability Myth crows nest Charlotte baby boom youth unemployment NSW publication earn engagement victoria salary dare to dream outsourcing in the media Royals Tuesday Trend study forecast visual emerging technologies business performance money faux-cilise future SMART lifestyle house price Engineering Manager demographic trends generation Z Wagga Wagga equip statistics small business professional speaker Canberra local community trades marriages recap intern 1980 society trends group session lalor park Education Future Forum 1975 financial future Queensland: QLD learn charity demographics workplace culture affordable New South Wales hills shire training community event neutral bay facts property market food careers tv sydneysider speaker wealth and income global generations Duchess of Cambridge graphs parents CPI hills ACT 24,000,000 quote educated the changing face of school satisfaction case study pyrmont baby names report millionth education future celebration long weekend Financial Planning Association of Australia screenage consumerism 2016 census 10 years hornsby cultural diveristy retirement ashley fell Scouts monarchy society real the hills university public speaker ACF2017 prince george census fail cost of living The Daily Edition wealth distribution communication learning styles ideas hopes Research Executive dessert survey presentations mining boom organisations aged care australian communities trends report relational bondi research services sydney hills Gen X christmas property mobile FPA hobart social life emerging trends families NT shopper's pick christianity newspaper cash Financial Planning Association father's day the great screenage FOMO responsive in depth interviews mover and shaker thought leadership optimistic goal VET sector affordability national wealth Sydney Merry Christmas environment New Zeland owning a home australian community trends report Gen Y spend alpha business index REIV Conference average aussie young people keynote speaker gender sydney speaker ABS Skilling Wellington brand experience Caregiver millenials Hills Shire Council market research tea Australians australians staying home more australia authenticity happiness train TDE census work Hornsby Shire Council news annual income moderators guide 24 million cloudy days infographic house price rise optus engage home owner ageing educhat relevant thrive average Australian rich overcast snapshot home ACF 2016 personal growth wellbeing new york times winter unaffordable list wages house community Australian community trends TAS education research demographer charities internet teachers dreams offenders jobs of the future future of education parenting SA megatrends ease of travel weather Sydney Hills Business Chamber demographic transformations logan networking insight live the dream collaborative family plans Australia Day 2017 sunburnt country friends poor vegemite ageing population professional sydney event breakfast rental stress New Zealand media commentary change the average aussie volunteers presentation career local communities hello fresh easter cultural diversity crime supply and demand social commentary grandparents jobs follow moreton bay city Channel Seven census data care support year 7 Wodonga eliane socialising social change gold coast menai baby names commute teacher acf15 financial fears future-proof financial planning conferences perth #censusfail showreel vegetarian researcher trends analyst media activity mother's day Adelaide conference presentation forum wealth and income distribution poker master know the times NBRS Architecture System's Architect Crime Rates online TED 2014 growth capital cities car students suburban living friendship men housing trends HSC twentyseventeen mccrindle slideshare mythbusters Tasmania Northern beaches Event local baby names australia report deloitte analysis Australian Dream work-life changing face of sydney impact dream narcissism Macquarie University world seasons Australian Home event Northern Beaches language McCrindle Speakers generation alpha child care REIV National Conference future proofing global commuters royal innovation cooking Northern Territory spirituality World Water Day choice workers growing population economic James Ward DESTEL focus groups SMSF national private wealth princess charlotte rise of local volunteering data 1994 eliane miles investor demographic click Australian Census workplace world youth day sports middle class Assistant Store Manager Australian demographics university degree speakers pack debt futurist life litter marketing infographic wall sentiments gen z budget schools holiday ashley mckenzie Valentine’s Day rain baby name trends housing Christmas season define meetings mentor post rationalism Real Estate Institute of Victoria Australian Communities Trends infographics CBD housing market education future report priorities suburbs research report debate wage cold Netflix greatness school students teaching cancel plans mortgage energy apartment the hills shire high density living staff resource Generation Y PSI population Australian communities land of the middle class Melbourne Tuesday Trends Australian Population australian social learner Australia street Christmas lunch Sydney keynote speaker population milestone typical australian casual research visualisation Do It Yourself curiosity interactive student politics program religion resilience census results couple high density manly mccrindle tea sector wide community engagement social analysis households renting church baby boomers sunny days professional development criminal holidays winter blues public speaking Australian Families rule keeper apartments WA transport forecasting baby name predictions technology pharmacies data analyst 2017 business Real Estate bus tuesday trend shopping centre state nfp internship Kiwi GPO fears national crime rates australian communities forum cartodb low density kate middleton demography divorce entrepreneurial group trends of 2016