The property market in Potts Point and Sydney’s East began 2020 well.

In fact, it was one of the strongest starts to the year I can ever remember. Following on from a good end to 2019, the median Sydney property price surged 4.6% in the quarter to February 2020, as the auction clearance rate in the Eastern suburbs lifted to above 80%.

Then, in March, COVID-19 struck and with it came a lockdown that saw sellers retreat, stock levels drop and auction clearance rates dip. The government brought in JobSeeker, JobKeeper, HomeBuilder and a range of emergency rental measures. The RBA got in on the act and cut interest rates to a new record low.

In May, after the lockdown eased, the market started coming back to life and we started seeing good sales, even as stock levels remained low and the country slipped into its first recession since the early 1990s.

By the end of the year, the economy was again growing. GDP lifted 3.3% in the September quarter after falling -7.0% in the three months to 30 June.

The property market followed. Data shows CoreLogic’s national index increased for the second month in a row in November, with dwelling values up 0.8% across the country. In Sydney, the median price grew 0.4% over the month and 0.3% over the quarter, meaning the values rose 3.7% in the 12 months to 30 November.

Some trends we saw over 2020

As we said at the start of the year, property in Sydney’s East and inner suburbs, will remain a comparatively sound investment, no matter what happens to the economy. That’s something we’ve seen play out over the year in Potts Point, with strong buyer demand keeping stock moving fast.

Despite the economic impacts of COVID-19, we were fortunate to have one of our best years ever. Our team had already sold $150 million worth of property by the third quarter of this year.

The eastern suburbs is a tightly held market, so we saw prices remain buoyant and demand outstrip supply.

Over 2020, we were lucky enough to have solid interest from a range of buyer demographics including downsizers, investors and expats. In fact, expats – who returned home in droves when the pandemic hit – made up around one fifth of our buyers this year. We also saw more movement from first home buyers at open homes, spurred on by new government incentives.

While we usually sell most property via auction, new social distancing requirements meant we conducted 10% more private treaty sales in 2020 than we did in 2019. In fact, private treaty sales accounted for up to 40% of our sales, making it a very unusual year for us. We also sold more properties than normal by “expressions of interest”.

Success stories

According to Domain, auction clearance rates for Sydney were sitting at 76% as of 12 December, meaning there has been little change from the 77% achieved for the same week in 2019.

Darlinghurst has turned out to be one of the major success stories for 2020. Despite the unit market being weaker than houses across the city this year, units in Darlinghurst rose 35.3% year-on-year to the third quarter, according to Domain, placing it first on the list for top price increase across the city. Rose Bay units came second with price growth of 31.8%.

Prices also in Woolloomooloo also rose more than $100,000 over 2020, according to realestate.com.au, while Rushcutters Bay experienced a slight increase too.

House prices also rose in Bondi Beach, while in nearby Bronte, both house and unit prices increased modestly.

Median Property Price

According to realestate.com.au, over 2020 the median property price rose in most areas we cover. By the end of the November 2020, the median prices were:

  • Potts Point units $763,000
  • Elizabeth Bay units $880,000
  • Woolloomooloo units $1,197,500
  • Rushcutters Bay units $870,000
  • Darlinghurst units $1,100,000 and houses $1,890,000
  • Bronte units $1,175,000 and houses $3,335,000
  • Bondi Beach units $1,071,000 and houses $2,767,500
  • Darling Point units $1,690,000

Key sales

5/40a-42 Macleay Street, Potts Point
A three-bedroom apartment in historic Manar which sold for $6.66 million, beating its reserve by $200,000.

1/22-24 Macleay Street, Elizabeth Bay
With its own private pool, this two-bedroom house-sized apartment in a BKH designed building sold for $3.85 million – $300,000 above its reserve.

112 Surrey Street, Darlinghurst
This grand five-bedroom Victorian terrace was the absolute definition of a blank canvas when it sold for $4.6 million in June – going over its reserve by $620,000.

16/22 Wylde Street, Potts Point
Amazing harbour views were one of the many draw cards for this three-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment with parking for two cars. It sold for $6.4 million.

15 Greenknowe Avenue, Elizabeth Bay
This three-bedroom, two-bathroom property with parking for one car sold for $3.45 million.

15/85 Yarranabbe Road, Darling Point
A sensational four-bedroom apartment in Darling Point, this property set a new record at $50,000 a square metre when it sold for $13.25 million.

47 Beach Road, Bondi Beach
Topping off the year, we had 39 registered bidders for this four-bedroom deceased estate, which sold under the hammer on 28 November for $3.73 million, which was a massive $1 million above its reserve.

Want more?

If you’re looking to buy or sell in Potts Point or Sydney’s East contact my team today.

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…