Sydney’s Best Value Suburbs by Walk Score Unveiled

Monday, December 15th, 2014
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The best value suburbs in Sydney ranked according to their price against the ease with which residents can walk to shops, station and other amenities have been unveiled.

In its latest blog post, industry research firm BIS Shrapnel says Emerton, Lethbridge Park and Warrick Farm in Sydney’s west rank as number one, two and three on a ‘dollar per walk score’ basis.

The dollar per walk score measures the median house price of individual suburbs in which at least 10 property sales have taken place in the past six months relative to the friendliness of the suburb in question in terms of the ability of residents to reach a range of local amenities by foot.

While the aforementioned suburbs had only modest walk scores per se, the relatively low price of residential property within those suburbs meant their proximity to local amenities was the highest within the Sydney Metropolitan Area relative to their cost.

Developed by Seattle-based property information service provider Walk Score, the index attempts to provide prospective residents of a given suburb with a guide as to the relative ease of accessing local amenities and neighbouring facilities without use of a vehicle.

The score does not represent a comprehensive picture of desirability of a suburb in question. It naturally favours suburbs with higher density dwellings and smaller block sizes – which are not necessarily preferable for those with children or who prefer more space – and takes no account of other features such as the safety or greenery. Still, the measure of dollar per walk score is intended to provide an indication of a given suburb’s value relative to its proximity of dwellings to amenities.

Suburbs with high walk scores have generally been associated with higher values of commercial property as well as higher levels of income and education compared with non-walkable suburbs. This is most likely a reflection of the relatively higher concentration of white collar professionals within city fringe or inner suburbs which tend to be characterised by high levels of urban density and therefore relatively high walk scores.

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While the aforementioned suburbs came out favourably on a measure of walk score relative to price, those wanting a ‘walkers paradise’ for under $1 million have three options – Newtown, Darlington and Erskineville, which have median price tags of $990,000, $986,000 and $975,000 and walk scores of 95, 94 and 92 respectively. Parramatta (price $775,000, walk score 81) offers the best value on a dollar per walk score basis of any suburb registering a score above 80.

Interestingly, some of the more expensive suburbs actually came in with a fairly low walk score. In several cases, this is actually a reflection of the relatively large lot sizes within these areas which simultaneously drive up prices and reduce the area’s walkability. With walk scores of less than 10 each, Ellis Lane and Grasmere fall into this category.

Outside of the acreage, the most expensive suburb to register a walk score of less than the national average of 59 was Church Point in the Pittwater Council Area, which had a median house price of $1.28 million and a walk score of just 23.

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