Since March 2020, COVID has forced us to spend more time at home than ever before.

It’s also given us time to pause, prompting many of us to reassess our lifestyle and how we want to live. The result? What we want from a home has changed, and so have property buyers’ checklists.

More space please

It’s not surprising to learn that after a period of lockdowns and confinement, we want roomier homes.

After months spent at home with the whole family, research shows that buyers are seeking extra bedrooms and multiple living spaces so that every family member has their own area in the home. Interestingly, larger kitchens are also appearing on buyers’ wish lists as we spend more time cooking at home.

We’re not just looking for more space indoors – we want room to move outdoors too. Realestate.com.au reports searches for the terms ‘outdoor’ and ‘outdoor area’ jumped in popularity by 41% and 47% respectively after the onset of the pandemic in April last year.

We’re seeing this trend in both the apartment and house markets. Buyers are competing hard for any properties that offer something “extra” in terms of space. Maybe it’s a one bed apartment with a bigger lounge or a courtyard, or a house with a studio in the garden, an extra living room, or additional bedrooms.

The working from home revolution

About 40 per cent of Australians have shifted to working from home during COVID, and for many of us, it won’t end when the pandemic does. Recent research from the Productivity Commission shows that almost one third of people would like to continue working from home three days per week, while 20 per cent would be happy to work from home full time.

This rapid uptake of working from home was reflected in property searches on realestate.com.au, with the word ‘study’ growing the most in popularity of any search term in the second half of 2020. Another recent survey showed that two-thirds of home buyers are looking for a home office, studio or space they can repurpose to work from home.

Renewed demand for lifestyle properties

Before COVID, we might have treated our homes as not much more than a place to sleep and get ready for our next day at the office, school or outing with friends and family. Now, given how much time we’ve spent at home over the last 18 months, we’re reassessing our homes’ importance, especially since many of us won’t be going back to the office full time. Our home has a direct impact on our quality of life, and that’s why we’re seeing a renewed demand for what we call “lifestyle properties”.

The Upper North Shore is home to some of Sydney’s finest lifestyle properties, large luxurious homes complete with pools, tennis courts, or expansive grounds. They often have a self-contained, resort feel, with amazing amenities and features.

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385 Bobbin Head Road, North Turramurra, a recent sale of ours, is a prime example. The property boasts an opulent seven-bedroom home with a pool and tennis court set on parklike 1ha grounds. And it’s just a short drive to the CBD. Not only did it sell to buyers from our database before it even came to market – a clear indication of the strong demand for Upper North Shore lifestyle properties – it sold for $9.751m, more than double the previous suburb record of $4.52m.

Upper North Shore sales market update

While Sydney house prices increased 13.5% over the 2020-2021 financial year, prices on the North Shore leapt 29.7% over the same period to reach a new median of $2,750,000 by June 2021. To put the demand for our area in a state-wide context, data showing the top 10 NSW suburbs for median house price rises from May 2020 to May 2021 lists Killara at number 5 and East Lindfield at number 8.

Low supply and high buyer demand continue to drive prices upwards. Turramurra hit a new median of $2,751,000 in August 2021, 27.3% greater than its August 2020 median of $2,161,750. Killara’s median has lifted by 31.6% from August 2020’s $2,962,500 to $3,900,000 in August 2021. Gordon has seen a similar 31.8% spike in its median over the same period, from $2,330,000 in August 2020 to $3,070,000 in August 2021.

Buyer demand for Upper North Shore property remains incredibly strong. We’re operating at full capacity in line with COVID restrictions, so if you’re thinking of buying or selling on Sydney’s Upper North Shore get in touch with our team today.

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