The more time I spend with Potts Point buyers, the more I’m convinced that this suburb is about to become one of Australia’s first car-free locations.
Here are a few of the factors at play in creating this new lifestyle for inner Sydney homeowners.
The family car: A relic of the past?
According to the latest census figures, Sydneysiders are still in love with their vehicles. In fact, car ownership went from 53.8 cars per 100 people in 2006 to 55.3 in 2016. But the next 10 years could look decidedly different thanks to the rise of technology that makes one car available to many passengers.
We now have a huge range of car and ride-sharing apps to choose from. The increasingly popular Uber continues to make taxi companies nervous, while Car Next Door, DriveMyCar and GoGet are all familiar to Sydney drivers (even if their presence on our roads sometimes courts controversy).
It’s not hard to imagine a tipping point in the near future when the cost of owning and maintaining a car seems over the top, particularly for those who want to spend more of their budget on a prime Sydney location.
Location over lock-up garages
Walk Score gives Potts Point a massive 94/100, making it the 12th most walkable neighbourhood in Sydney. So it’s no surprise that for buyers focused on harbourside locations like Potts Point a place to store their vehicle is low on the list of priorities. These often younger buyers are buying closer to the lifestyle fixtures they love, like a buzzing café and bar scene at their doorstep and public transport links to key locations across the city.
Let’s not forget that car and ride sharing can complement car ownership. Those who can afford a Potts Point parking space (and haven’t decided to rent it out) might only need to use their car a few times a month, but still enjoy the option of driving in between all the other modes of transport on offer.
Could transport tech transform the property market?
There’s no question that the rise of new transport technology set to transform our cities at some point in the near future. Executive GM of property data company CoreLogic Greg Dickason is so convinced by this trend that he sees it having an impact on the Australian property market. His view is that very soon our garages will be empty as ride/car sharing becomes the norm and driverless vehicles take to our streets, freeing up millions of units of potential housing.
My take is that Potts Point residents won’t wait around for the rest of Australia to catch up. They’ll be the first to replace their car with a few smartphone apps, an Opal card and a great pair of walking shoes.