The eastern suburbs have always been home to some of Australia’s grandest properties.

In the early days of European settlement, Potts Point was home to more mansions than any other part of Sydney. Then, in the twentieth century, the action moved to areas such as Centennial Park and Bellevue Hill.

Now we’re seeing the Eastern Beaches take off as the home of some of Sydney’s grandest designs. We’re also watching the reno action return to where it began – back in Potts Point and other inner Eastern Suburbs.

With that in mind, we explore some of the trends driving Sydney’s grandest designs.

A grand home by the beach

The beach has long been part of Sydney’s imagination and, as one of the keenest surfers alive, I can fully understand that. But I don’t think there’s ever been a time when so many of us have wanted to live near the beach.

The Eastern Suburbs beaches have outperformed pretty much every other part of Sydney since 2019. With houses in suburbs such as Bronte (+62.3%), Clovelly (+86.2%) and Bondi Beach (+59.9%) leading the way, according to data.

With higher price tags have come higher lifestyle expectations from the property and we’ve been witnessing a real transformation of these once reasonably modest suburbs.

One of the main trends we’ve seen is the knockdown rebuild, with smaller family homes overlooking the beach or the ocean making way for more substantial residences. I recently sold 49 Boundary Street, Clovelly, which attracted real interest from families looking to take the plunge and build their dream home.

One appeal of taking this route is not simply that it can provide you with a great lifestyle, it can also potentially end up making you a lot of money, especially if executed properly. Genuine prestige properties near the beach are fetching a premium even by Sydney standards. For instance, in 2021 I sold 25 St Thomas Street, Bronte – a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home across from the beach – for $10,100,000.

Inner-city life on a much bigger scale

The move back into the inner city has also been a trend that’s really gathered pace over the past decade or so, with downsizers really driving the charge into suburbs such as Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay and Rushcutters Bay. But, at the same time, we’re seeing more and more families decide to stay in the inner-city (or even move into it) as the kids grow older.

One of the main challenges for both these groups is that properties in the inner city tend to be, well, small. That means the few apartments and terraces offering family-home like proportions are in extremely high demand. 132/95 Elizabeth Bay Road – the top floor penthouse of ‘Toft Monks’ – recently sold for $11.4 million.

One way some people have been creating more space for themselves and their families is to buy more than one property and amalgamate them into a single residence. We’ve also seen other property owners get creative with the space they already own, including one couple who received permission to build on a rooftop terrace to create a home of 579 square metres.

In the meantime, existing grand residences in the inner-city remain hard to come by – although 160-162 Victoria Road, Potts Point is currently on the market and would make one of the Eastern Suburbs’ grandest homes.

Celebrity architects and designers

If the 2010s were all about Sydney’s celebrity chefs, the 2020s are all about our celebrity designers and architects. Having the right person create an original residence for you and your family can add serious value to a home.

Luigi Roselli is one of the city’s best known and most admired architects and last year I was fortunate enough to sell a stunning duplex penthouse he had reimagined at 2/12 St Neot Avenue, Potts Point.

Similarly, great interior designers can also bring a lot of buyer interest to a home, and understandably so. After all, renovations aren’t just about creating space, they’re also about making space more stylish and liveable. I’ve been fortunate enough to sell homes with interiors designed by local legend designers such as Heidi Onisforou, Juliette Arent, Iain Halliday and Alexandra Kidd, which generated enormous interest from buyers.

Rising building costs

The final renovation trend worth mentioning in Sydney’s East is the rising cost of getting work done. This is partly due to the rising cost of materials, but it’s also down to the fact that our tradespeople are increasingly fully booked.

In February, CoreLogic reported construction costs were rising at the highest rate since early 2005. This is likely to mean people will increasingly have to spend more to create their own grand designs.

Thinking of creating your own grand design in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs?

Renovations don’t come cheap. So one of the most important steps any renovator can take is to get an accurate pre-renovation valuation, including an insight into any likely price gains.

If you’re thinking of creating your own grand design in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs get in touch.

Article by Jason Boon

In a real estate market that is the focus of Australian, and indeed worldwide attention, Jason Boon's results in the Sydney scene make him a highly significant figure within the industry. A long-term specialist in the Potts Point and inner eastern suburbs area, he is uniquely placed to leverage his skills and local knowledge as the area undergoes significant change and diversification. Jason ha…