Redevelopment might have recently occured in Manly, one of Australia’s most famous waterfront neighbourhoods, but the suburb still boasts a vibrant mix of visitors and residents, according to people who live and work there.
You can be at the beach and to your left can be a backpacker at the same time as at the right of you can be somebody who possesses a $15 million mansion as well as a large commercial real estate portfolio.
The suburb, which occupies a curved strip of land separating the Sydney Harbour from the northern shores, has enticed surf-mad Sydneysiders and European travelers searching for a beach-town atmosphere where they can place their seaside homeware.
It’s also served as an entertainment hub for residents of the northern shores, with an range of pubs and eateries. But lately, savvy buyers with deep pockets have started eyeing up Manly’s most tranquil corners, making a prestige market tier together with the suburb’s more elite apartment stock as commercial property investments. A fine-dining scene has developed in tandem.
Individuals who previously would not have considered Manly — individuals from Northbridge, Castlecrag, Neutral Bay, Mosman, who are in local proximity but more closer to the Sydney central business district are starting to show a vested interest in property in the area. As street congestion in Sydney worsens, Manly’s ferry service is becoming a significant selling point as people are finally beginning to realise you could jump on a quick ferry and be at Circular Quay within 15 minutes, versus trying to navigate the horrendous Sydney traffic that could take over an hour to get through on a weekday.
Not only is the ferry one of the fastest ways of getting in the city, it is also the most beautiful. Price increase in Manly has been significant. Recent property data shows that the median home price rose a massive 125 percent in the last five decades, while the flat median jumped 85 percent. It has been one of those fastest-growing regions of Sydney, but there is still enormous variety on offer.
In the last six months, the least expensive unit at Manly sold for only $450,000, while the most expensive house, a designer Sydney mansion, netted $9.53 million. That places the suburb in reach of first-home buyers. And for those at the top end, there is value to be had.
If you look at other areas which are 15 minutes from the city by ferry, such as Vaucluse and Rose Bay, you get a better lifestyle in Manly and a hell of a lot more land for your dollar.
Long-time residents have watched with interest as the suburb has developed. Freelance musician Jason Smith and his wife, a nurse educator, moved from Narrabeen to Manly in 1996. The couple now have two children, aged 11 and eight, who attend a community primary school. At this time, the bars were open really quite late and families find a flow of drunks wandering past their houses every weekend at all hours of the morning. But Smith claims the last two decades have been great for Manly as it appears to have a fantastic balance between community, tourism and entertainment. The facilities aren’t just convenient, they are also well styled with some of the best interior designers Sydney has used to make Manly wonderful.
There is a considerable community feel today, which was not noticable for people like James attempting to live a family life in Manly in the nineties. For buyers of modest means, Manly requires a level of compromise as the less pricier houses are small. But how many individuals have a shore at their front door and get to see their coastal home decor all year round, instead of just when they visit their holiday house? The answer is not many. There is a sense that Manly is finally being recognised as a seriously attractive place to live, instead of simply visit. Properties are selling very quickly, nowadays, buyers are not only competing with Manly natives: they are competing with all the other parts of Sydney and overseas buyers that have awakened to what a amazing lifestyle Manly has to offer.