What Are The Most Liveable Suburbs In Sydney?

Joshua Chadwick By Joshua Chadwick August 26th

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Whether you’re considering a move to Australia’s Emerald City or just curious about where your neighbourhood ranks amongst Sydney’s suburbs, you’re in the right place!

Thanks to the extensive Urban Living Index created by McCrindle, the best suburbs of Sydney have been revealed in terms of livability through several different measures, ranging from diversity to climate and business performance (and not just the Sydney Harbour).

It’s a lot to digest and a lot of information to dive into, but thankfully, we’ve summed it up into easy-to-digest pieces to determine the most liveable suburbs in Sydney.

Check out our most liveable suburbs in Melbourne article here!

Liveability Measurement

Before we start labelling and ranking suburbs, the measurements of what makes a suburb more liveable than another need to be fleshed out first.

To do this, we can look at the algorithm put together in the Urban Living Index, which looks at 5 categories of liveability and places the suburbs into a ranking out of 100 (20 points each). These categories are:

  • Accessibility (Physical)
  • Affordability (Financial)
  • Amenity (Environmental)
  • Community (Social)
  • Employability (Vocational)

In addition, each category has 4 measures to follow, with each measure worth 5 points. These measures are labelled below under their respective categories:

Accessibility (Physical)Affordability (Financial)Amenity (Environmental)Community (Social)Employability (Vocational)
Access to workHome costArts & RecreationDynamic communityEmploying businesses
Population densityHousehold incomeEducational attendanceLanguage diversityFull-time employment
Transport sustainabilityRental costRestaurants & cafesVolunteer workHigher education qualification
Walking to workRental populationShoppingWorkforce participationProfessionals
Urban Living Index – Research Sources

The algorithm looks a little like this:

5 Categories x
4 Measures x
5 points                           
= 100

Is everyone still following along? Great! Now we can dive into which suburbs excel in which category and indeed rank which is the most liveable suburb in Sydney.

Accessibility

The first category dives into how accessible the suburb is in terms of access to key amenities, public transport and the walkability of the neighbourhood.

This category focuses mainly on physical aspects, determining how much access to work exists and if it’s accessible by walking, how dense the population of the suburb is, and if the transport (both public and by vehicle) is sustainable.

With the key measures in mind, here are the top ranking suburbs of Sydney for accessibility (all suburbs that achieved perfect 20 out of 20 scores):

Best Suburbs By Accessibility

As seen in the above table, the Central District of Sydney dominates the accessibility scores, which is common for most inner-city regions in states across Australia. The city centre (and CBD as a whole) contains key amenities within proximity and offers great access to work opportunities.

Central Outliers

Crows Nest – Waverton, Neutral Bay – Kirribilli & Chatswood (East) – Artarmon manage to net a perfect accessibility score from the North Sydney district, and Auburn is the lone perfect suburb from the West Central district to get 20 points out of 20.

Affordability

Affordability is pretty self-explanatory thankfully, as the category measures the overall cost of housing (both owning and renting) around the suburb and determines how the suburbs median house price stacks up against the average of Sydney.

This financial category also focuses on the rental population and the average household income based on the Australian household average.

The table below ranks the best Sydney suburbs by how affordable the region is, highlighting a far different result from the previous accessibility rankings.

Best Suburbs By Affordability

In terms of affordability, the west contains the most affordable suburbs in Sydney, with St. Clair, Blaxland – Warrimoo – Lapstone, Springwood – Winmalee, and Kurrajong Heights – Ebenezer sitting at the top with 17 points out of 20.

The inner west of Sydney and the southwest fill out the rest of the numbers in the chart, as the rankings showcase that the further the suburb is from the Sydney CBD, the more affordable the house price will be in those suburbs.

Lonely Up North

Galston – Laughtondale is the only suburb from the North Sydney district to rank in the top 25 suburbs for affordability, with a ranking of 15 out of 20

Amenity

Easy access to local key amenities is widely regarded as one of the most important factors when it comes to real estate as a whole, with livability rankings being no different.

This environmental category measures a multitude of primary amenities, ranging from restaurants and cafes to green spaces and playgrounds and even the ability to shop with ease. Amenity also focuses on local arts and recreation (sporting facilities) in the suburb and assesses the educational attendance of the area.

With that being said, here are the highest-ranking suburbs when it comes to the amenity category, with a couple of suburbs managing to score a perfect 20 out of 20:

Best Suburbs By Amenity

Majority of the perfect ranking suburbs reside in the central district of Sydney, as these eastern suburbs provide ample amenities like public schools and private schools, shopping centres, eateries and many other hotspots within the suburb.

Both the lower north shore and upper north shore provide plenty of upsides thanks to their location, as well as both south and west central districts landing a couple of perfect scored suburbs for amenity.

Community

Community measures everything surrounding the suburb, focusing on the social aspect that comes with liveability.

This category ranks suburbs based on how dynamic a community it possesses, the diversity of languages spoken, the amount of volunteer work that is created and overall workforce participation.

Below are the top-ranking Sydney suburbs for the social category, community, with a maximum score being 20.

Best Suburbs By Community

Similar to the accessibility scores, the highest ranking suburbs for the community reside mostly in central Sydney, which also extends to north Sydney with the highest scores staying close to the CBD and its dense population.

Western Sydney managed to nab up a couple of high scores, however, with Northmead, West Pennant Hills, Carlingford and the west-central side of Epping – North Epping earning 16 points out of a potential 20.

Community is not affordable?

Despite the high scores for select west-central suburbs, none of the aforementioned areas ranked highly in affordability, whilst central district suburbs boast high accessibility and community, but tank in afforability.

Employability

The final category targets everything surrounding employability, as a suburb isn’t liveable if it doesn’t have a sustainable workplace keeping it standing.

This vocational category measures the full-time employment rate of its residents, as well as their higher education qualifications. The employability ranking also takes into account the number of young professionals in the area, as well as the number of employing businesses that can be found in the suburb.

Below are the top-ranking suburbs in terms of employability, with a decent amount of perfect 20 out of 20 scores coming from expected areas (hint: it’s called the CBD for a reason!)

Best Suburbs By Employability

Employability rankings skew closer toward the heart of Sydney, as suburbs within close proximity of the CBD rank highly due to the number of job opportunities present in such a high-demand area.

This measurement leads the more laid-back, family-friendly suburbs to drop in the overall rankings, despite the open spaces and lower property prices that home buyers on the outer ring and bushland can boast about.

Most Liveable Suburbs In Sydney

Now that the category scores have been laid out, we can finally tally up the scores and determine what is the most liveable suburb in Sydney!

So, without further adieu, here are the best suburbs in Sydney when it comes to livability, ranked out of 100 in the calculation of the 5 primary categories:

Most Liveable Suburbs In Sydney

After ranking highly in 4 of the 5 categories, both Crows Nest – Waverton and Surry Hills finish atop the rankings, with a huge score of 85 out of 100.

These suburbs displayed the most liveable statistics consistently in accessibility, amenity, community and employability, with affordability proving to be the lonely measure that these central and northern district powerhouses failed to score highly on.

In summary, what makes a city liveable is subjective to each individual and what they value. If someone values good school locations, national parks and green spaces over northern beaches with close train stations and train lines, then their ideal suburb will differ from others.

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Joshua Chadwick
Joshua Chadwick
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