Northern Beaches

North Shore

The Northern Beaches

The Northern Beaches Council area is located on the northern side of Sydney Harbour and extends about 30 km from Manly north to Palm Beach, a famous pilgrimage for TV show Home and Away fans. The region extends south to the entrance of Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), west to Middle Harbour and north to the opening of Broken Bay.
The Northern Beaches boasts over half of all Sydney’s beaches and has a population of about 270,000. The region is very much a lifestyle destination for those that live there. It’s all about checking surf conditions from the office and then taking children to the beach after the school day ends.

It’s a trendy choice for those who enjoy an active lifestyle. There are sports fields, national parks, bushwalking and mountain bike tracks, surf beaches, protected waterways and lots of natural wildlife. The suburbs have a very laid back vibe. Along the footpaths, you will see people enjoying a leisurely walk in everything from a smart suit through to swimwear.

It’s perfect for growing families or those that love the outdoors and want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Sydney’s CBD. It’s also an excellent choice for older couples who want to enjoy the leisurely pace of the Northern Beaches but still be able to enjoy outings in the City.

Here are a few links providing some great overviews of the Northern Beaches (local’s guide, Sydney.com, and another).

Overview of the Northern Beaches Suburbs

The Northern Beaches is a much larger and more diverse region than many people realise. It comprises over 50 different suburbs, and the area extends about 30km or a 45-minute drive from North (Palm Beach) to South (Manly) and about 10km or a 15-minute drive East (Collaroy) to West (Belrose).
When choosing which suburb best suits your needs, it’s best to break down the region into the five major areas (Council wards).

The Five Wards of the Northern Beaches are:

Pittwater Ward – the northern end of the Northern Beaches

Narrabeen Ward – the central region of the Northern Beaches

Curl Curl Ward – towards the South end of the Northern Beaches, just north of Manly

Manly Ward – the southern end of the Northern Beaches (closest to the CBD)

Frenchs Forest Ward – the south-west area of the Northern Beaches

Below are links to the 56 individual suburbs covering Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Download the pdf of the Northern Beaches region

Highlights of the Northern Beaches Recreation & Outdoors

The outdoors make the Northern Beaches popular and a great location to live and pursue a healthy lifestyle.
There is something for everyone – with beaches, abundant national parks, bushwalking trails, cycling paths, playgrounds, sporting fields, golf courses and waterways.

The Northern Beaches offers some of the best surfing beaches in the world. They stretch 30km from Manly to Palm Beach and include many prime surfing spots, including Freshwater and Dee Why. The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro also takes place in Manly in May, with top surfers competing from around the world.

In addition to surfing, many of the beaches on the Northern Beaches are Kid-Friendly.

The Northern Beaches is also very lucky to have three National Parks on its doorstep – Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, Garigal National Park and Sydney Harbour National Park.

Of course, the region provides plenty of opportunities for cycling and mountain biking, exploring horse trails, visiting beautiful parks and playgrounds, dedicated outdoor exercise areas, and beautiful walking trails.

There is a great campground at the Basin for those who love camping – located within the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and accessible by ferry or boat.

In addition, Pittwater Waterway is outstanding for fishing, sailing and generally just having lots of fun. There are so many things to do on the Northern Beaches – it’s often tough to choose!

As you would probably expect, the Northern Beaches is also home to several top-rated high-quality golf courses, including:

  • Avalon Golf Course
  • Mona Vale Golf Club
  • Monash Country Club
  • Elanora Country Golf Club
  • Cromer Golf Club
  • Bayview Golf Club
  • Long Reef Golf Club
  • Terrey Hills Golf and Country Club
  • Warringah Golf Club 70
  • Palm Beach Golf Club
  • Balgowlah Golf Course
  • Wakehurst Golf Course
  • Terrey Hills Par 3 Golf Course
  • Pittwater Golf Centre
  • Golf Paradise Terry Hills
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Education

The Northern Beaches is home to many good schools – both Public (Government operated) and Private (also referred to as Independent). Most suburbs in the Northern Beaches have excellent Public Preparatory and Senior Schools.

Of particular note, Northern Beaches Secondary College Balgowlah Boys Campus, Northern Beaches Secondary College Mackellar Girls Campus (Manly Vale) and Killarney Heights High School have recently been ranked among the top 50 Public High Schools in Sydney.

In addition, St Luke’s Grammar School (Dee Why & Bayview), German International School Sydney (Terry Hills) and Pittwater House (Collaroy) have recently been ranked among the top 50 Private High Schools in Sydney.

Below are links to 75 Northern Beaches Schools. Once you have found a school you are interested in, you can check the catchment area to ensure you purchase a property in a suitable location (relevant to public schools only).

You can also do a ‘deep dive’ on individual school performance and compare student results with the average scores for all Australian students.

Public Schools (Government Operated)

  • Avalon Public School
  • Barrenjoey High School
  • Bilgola Plateau Public School
  • Collaroy Plateau Public School
  • Cromer Public School
  • Elanora Heights Public School
  • Fisher Road School
  • Mona Vale Public School
  • Narrabeen Lakes Public School
  • Narrabeen North Public School
  • Narrabeen Sports High School
  • Newport Public School
  • Pittwater High School
  • Sir Eric Woodward Memorial School
  • Terrey Hills Public School
  • Wheeler Heights Public School
  • Balgowlah Heights Public School
  • Balgowlah North Public School
  • Beacon Hill Public School
  • Brookvale Public School
  • Curl Curl North Public School
  • Dee Why Public School
  • Harbord Public School
  • Manly Vale Public School
  • Manly Village Public School
  • Manly West Public School
  • Narraweena Public School
  • Northern Beaches Secondary College
  • Balgowlah Boys Campus
  • Northern Beaches Secondary College Cromer Campus
  • Northern Beaches Secondary College Freshwater Senior Campus
  • Northern Beaches Secondary College Mackellar Girls Campus
  • Northern Beaches Secondary College Manly Campus
  • Royal Far West School
  • Seaforth Public School
  • Stewart House School
  • The Beach School
  • Allambie Heights Public School
  • Belrose Public School
  • Davidson High School
  • Forestville Public School
  • Frenchs Forest Public School
  • Killarney Heights High School
  • Killarney Heights Public School
  • The Forest High School
  • Wakehurst Public School

 

In addition, there are also several Private (independent) schools located in the Northern Beaches area – links are provided below.

Private Schools – Preparatory Schools

  • St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School – Narrabeen NSW (Year K – 6; Co-ed)
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Primary School – Forestville NSW (Year K – 6; Co-ed)
  • St John the Baptist Catholic Primary School – Freshwater NSW (Year K – 6; Co-ed)
  • St Kevin’s Catholic Primary School – Dee Why NSW (Year K – 6; Co-ed)
  • St John the Apostle Catholic Primary School – Narraweena NSW (Year K – 6; Co-ed)
  • Sydney Japanese International School (Year K – 9; Co-ed; enrolments 219)
  • St Martin’s Catholic Primary School – Davidson NSW (Year K – 6; Co-ed)
  • John Colet School – Belrose NSW (Years – Primary; enrolments 200)
  • St Mary’s Catholic Primary School – Manly NSW (Year K – 6; Co-ed)
  • St Kieran’s Catholic Primary School – Manly Vale NSW (Year K – 6; Co-ed)
  • Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School – Mona Vale NSW (Year K – 6; Co-ed)
  • St Cecilia’s Catholic Primary School -BALGOWLAH NSW (Year K – 6; Co-ed)
  • Barrenjoey Montessori School – Avalon NSW (Year 0 – 9-year-olds; Co-ed)
  • Forestville Montessori School – Forestville NSW (Year Birth – 9-year-olds; Co-ed)
  • Kamaroi Rudolf Steiner School – Belrose NSW (Year K – 6; Co-ed)
  • Kinma School – Terrey Hills NSW (Year Prep-Primary; Co-ed)
  • Yanginanook School – Belrose NSW (Year K – Year 6; Co-ed)
  • Sydney Japanese International School (Year K – 9; Co-ed)

Private Schools- Senior Schools

  • Mater Maria Catholic College – Warriewood (Year 7 – 12; Co-ed; Catholic)
  • St Paul’s Catholic College – Manly NSW (Year 7 – 12; Boys; 400 enrolments)
  • Maria Regina Catholic Primary School – Avalon NSW (Year 7 – 12; Co-ed)
  • Stella Maris College, Manly NSW (Year 7 – 12; Girls; 900 enrolments)

Private Schools – Combined Preparatory & Senior Schools

  • Oxford Falls Grammar – Oxford Falls NSW (Year K – 12; Co-ed)
  • Northern Beaches Christian School – Terrey Hills NSW (Year K – 12; Co-ed; 1200 enrolments)
  • Pittwater House School, Collaroy NSW (Year Pre-school – 12; Co-ed / single-gender classes)
  • St Luke’s Grammar School, Dee Why & Bayview NSW (Year Pre-school – 12; Co-ed; 1000+ enrolments)
  • German International School Sydney – Terrey Hills NSW (Year Prep – 12; Co-ed)
  • St Augustines College – Brookvale NSW (Year 5 – 12; Boys)
  • Covenant Christian School, Belrose NSW (Year Pre-school – 12; Co-ed; 800 enrolments)
  • Galstaun School (Hamazkaine (HASG) School) Ingleside (Year K – 12; Co-ed)
  • Vern Barnett Centre School, Forestville NSW (Year 4 – 16-year-olds; Co-ed)

More information on both Public and Private schools can also be found at bettereducation.com.au.

Additionally, TAFE NSW Northern Beaches is located in Brookvale opposite Warringah Mall and has specialist vocational education training facilities for sport and fitness, hospitality, community services and hair and beauty.

For those attending University, Macquarie University, Sydney University and the University of New South Wales – all world-class institutions – are about 60 minutes away and accessible by bus.

Northern Beaches – Property Pricing and Performance

Over the last twelve months, property price growth on the Northern Beaches have fared pretty well. Competition for properties that support a natural lifestyle choice – such as the Northern Beaches – that are still commutable to the City has been further fuelled by recent COVID-19 events.

Restaurants and Shops on the Northern Beaches

Restaurants

There’s a good selection of shops on the Northern Beaches, with pretty much something for everyone.
Most suburbs have their own ‘High-Street’, which provides a village feel with many boutique shops and cafes. The more established suburbs tend to have their own large grocery store, and there’s always a good selection of good quality fresh produce from markets and smaller stores.

The area also has one large shopping centre, Warringah Mall, located in Brookvale and you can find pretty much everything you need there.

Of course, Sydney CBD is also only about 30-60 mins away, and Chatswood has another two large shopping centres which can be reached in around 30 mins.

Eat and Drink

The Northern Beaches has many excellent restaurants and coffee spots – here are a few examples:

The Boathouse Restaurant offers a great casual environment for eating right at the waterfront at Shelley Beach and Palm Beach.

Moby Dick’s Whale Beach is a well-known beachside wedding and event venue.

Pilu at Freshwater has fantastic water views and brilliant Italian fare.

The Newport is a destination pub, a sprawling, beautifully renovated heritage property situated on the Pittwater foreshore.

Jonah’s at Whale Beach is a fine-dining venue with boutique accommodation and incredible views.

Cottage Point Inn – is a lovely waterfront restaurant for lunch or dinner and can be accessed by road, boat or even seaplane.

The Waterfront General Store & Café – a delightful and very relaxed destination right on the waterway at Church Point.

Manly is an eating-and-drinking hub with many unique restaurant options.

Finally, here is a list of some of the best Northern Beaches restaurants with a view.

Transport

Getting to the Northern Beaches

Driving from the Northern Beaches to the CBD typically takes around 40 to 60 minutes, depending on which suburb you live in and the time of day.

For those travelling between Manly and Circular Quay – effectively crossing the Sydney Harbour – there is a choice of a fast ferry or a standard Sydney ferry, both of which can be a great way to start or end your day.

Other ways to get to the Northern Beaches include a ferry to Palm Beach from Ettalong on the NSW Central Coast or even a seaplane (if you are going to Cottage Point Inn or Jonah’s Restaurant).

Once on the Northern Beaches, driving is the best way to explore the Northern Beaches from top to bottom. It takes about 40 minutes to drive from Palm Beach to Manly.

Train Services

A train network does not service the Northern Beaches. While this can make public transport a little more arduous, most locals embrace that it makes the area just that little bit more ‘remote’.

Bus Services

Extensive bus services service the Northern Beaches. The B-Line offers an excellent double-decker bus service that runs between Mona Vale and the City for about 20 hours a day. A local bus network also covers most of the Northern Beaches.

Northern Beaches – Property Pricing and Performance

Houses

During 2022 property prices for houses on the Northern Beaches grew by an average of 39%, with the current median house price now $3.2m. The growth rate, however, has not been consistent. Several suburbs (Whale Beach, Duffys Forest and Scotland Island) have experienced annual price growth of over 60%. In comparison, other suburbs in the area have achieved growth in the vicinity of 20% during 2022 (Balgowlah Heights, Queenscliff, Curl Curl, Balgowlah and Seaforth).

While there has been solid competition for houses across the Northern Beaches, there has been slightly more demand for quality homes at the northern end of the region (e.g. Pittwater Ward – effectively both North and West from Mona Vale). Here annual price growth has generally exceeded 40%. The growing trend of working from home, living a little further from the City and embracing a lifestyle change has fuelled this. This Northern Beaches area now has the highest median house ($3.88m), slightly surpassing Manly Ward ($3.72m).

It should be noted that a few suburbs on the southern end of the Northern Beaches (closest to the City) have also achieved annual house price growth of over 40%, namely Clontarf Beach, Fairlight and North Balgowlah.

The Northern Beaches now has six suburbs with a median house price that exceeds $4m (Palm Beach, Whale Beach, Duffys Forest, Queenscliff, Clontarf and Manly). However, the region still enjoys 11 suburbs with a median price under $2.5m (North Narrabeen, Narraweena, Cromer, Wheeler Heights, Warriewood, Beacon Hill, Forestville, Davidson, Belrose, Frenchs Forest and Terrey Hills).

Interestingly, despite the ‘hyper-growth’ of the last 12 months, the average five-year annual return for house prices across the Northern Beaches sits at a more modest 9.1% pa, which is still an excellent return for property owners. Of particular interest is that one-quarter of all suburbs have delivered 5-year annual growth of between 10% and 20% pa.

Units

In terms of Units, the median price on the Northern Beaches is now $1.3m, with average annual price growth at a solid 25.2%. Except for a few suburbs that have underperformed compared to the rest of the region (e.g. Balgowlah, Brookvale, Cromer, Fairlight), most suburbs have achieved between 20% and 40% annual price growth during 2022.

Five-year annual returns for Units sits at a respectable 5.7% pa, with two suburbs (Avalon Beach and Palm Beach) delivering over 10% annually over this period.

Buying Property on the Northern Beaches

Finding a Northern Beaches Property You Love. As specialist Buyer’s Agents on the Northern Beaches, we help buyers find their perfect home and guide them through the entire buying process.

Engaging with Real Estate Agents

There are currently over 200 Real Estate agents on the Northern Beaches, and all of them will be very happy to show you the property listings they have, hoping they are a good match for what you are looking for.

There is also an increasing trend on the Northern Beaches for Real Estate Agents to sell properties ‘off-market’. This means the Seller and the Agent have agreed to sell the property without public advertising. In practical terms, this may reduce the advertising costs for the Seller. Still, it means the Buyer needs to work much harder to maintain ongoing contact with every Real Estate Agent in the region – else they run the risk of not even knowing their ideal home may already be for sale (one of the most common reasons our clients engage us as their Licenced Property Buyer’s Agent).

You also need to remember that Real Estate agents are required by law to act in the best interests of the vendor (the person selling the property) – not necessarily in your best interests – so you need to be very diligent in your approach, ensure all necessary property inspections and reports have been completed, study the local area very carefully, look for comparable sales and, of course, ensure you are not overpaying.

Importantly, you also need to develop a clear negotiation strategy, remembering the Real Estate Agent is working for the Seller – not for you.

Some astute buyers will decide to engage a Buyer’s Agent to represent the buyer’s interests and use their expertise, skill and local market knowledge to ensure the best possible outcome for the buyer is achieved. Here is an overview of how a Buyer’s Agent may be able to help you.

Getting Your Finances In Order Up-Front

It often takes our clients four to six weeks to get finance approved by the banks. It’s therefore essential to have finance pre-approval in writing from your home loan provider before you make any form of ‘offer’ for a property.

If finance is not in place, agents and vendors will recognise that you will not exchange contracts for some time. So, even if you were to make a firm offer, your chances of securing the property will be reduced – especially in the current tight market with limited numbers of properties available.

Engaging a Conveyancer/ Solicitor

While you can do your conveyancing, we recommend buyers engage a licensed conveyancer or solicitor to help arrange finance, evaluate relevant property reports, review and exchange contracts and attend settlement.

The fees will vary between solicitors and conveyancers. You will also be charged for disbursements (costs) which will generally include title search, certificate fees from local authorities and any other inspections/ reports that are necessary.

Conveyancers must disclose their costs to you, and it is your right to negotiate a cost agreement. We recommend you ask for an itemised statement of the likely costs before starting the work – to ensure you have no surprises!

Reviewing the Contract for the Sale and Purchase of Land

Once you have found a property you love, you should request a copy of the contract as soon as you can and have it reviewed by your solicitor or conveyancer. Remember, a property can’t be put on the market until a contract of sale has been prepared – which will include the terms and conditions of the sale and valuable information about the property itself.

Making an Offer

If you make an offer to a Real Estate Agent and the Seller accepts it, you will generally be asked to pay a deposit (‘expression of interest’ deposit), often 0.25% of the Purchase Price.

However, this does NOT mean the property is yours or will be taken off the market. The Agent can take as many deposits as they like for the property. Legislation demands that Real Estate Agents present to the Seller, in writing, any subsequent offers they receive for the property.

Until you legally exchange contracts for the property, the Real Estate Agent (remember – representing the Seller’s best interests lawfully) may negotiate with other buyers for a higher offer – even if you have paid a deposit.

Specifically, the Agent or the Seller has no obligation to sell the property to you. However, if you have paid a deposit, the Agent must tell you if someone makes a subsequent offer on the property as soon as they become aware of it.

If the Seller accepts a later offer and exchanges contracts with that party, you have been ‘gazumped’. In this case, you have no recourse, but you will have your full deposit refunded. Unfortunately, you will have missed out on the property.

Furthermore, neither the Agent nor the Seller is obliged to compensate you for any costs you may have incurred, including legal fees, inspection reports, or finance application costs.

Exchanging Contracts and Paying a Deposit

Once you have had the contract reviewed (and agreed on any changes necessary), made the required property enquiries and have your financial arrangements in order, you will be ready to exchange contracts.

Exchanging contracts legally completes the process of buying a home. The agreement is generally not binding until now, and both you and the vendor can change your minds.

There will be two copies of the sale contract. Once you sign one and the vendor signs the other, they are ‘exchanged’ (by hand or post – and usually arranged by either your solicitor, conveyancer or agent). You will also be required to pay a deposit at the time of exchange – which is generally 10% of the purchase price.

Cooling-off Period

In NSW, you have a five business day cooling-off period after you exchange contracts – just in case you change your mind.

The only exceptions to this are if you are buying ‘off the plan’ (where it is ten days), buying at an auction, or if the selling agent asks you to sign a ‘66W Certificate’, which waives your cooling off period altogether. You can also extend or reduce the cooling-off period with the written agreement of the vendor.

If you use your cooling-off rights and withdraw from the contract, you will still be required to pay the vendor 0.25 per cent (effectively $250 for every $100,000 of the purchase price).

Settlement

Settlement occurs typically six weeks after contracts are exchanged. At this point, you pay the remainder of the sale price and become the legal owner of the property.

On the morning of Settlement day, it’s a good idea to conduct a final inspection of the property to ensure no changes since the contracts were exchanged.

Lastly, if you are unsure of what you need to do or have a specific question about buying property on the Northern Beaches and need some honest, independent advice, please drop us a quick note at support@lovelivesydney.com or call us on +61 405 500 053. You don’t need to be an existing client – we love the Northern Beaches, and we love Real Estate – we will be delighted to help you.

Good luck with your Northern Beaches property journey…!

 

their negotiation skills saved us thousands of dollars on the purchase price.

Their extensive network of local real estate agents helped us find properties that weren’t even on the market yet, and their negotiation skills saved us thousands of dollars on the purchase price. Their dedication, sincerity and customer service excellence truly made us feel like we were their top priority. We highly recommend Sarah Kaye Buyers Agents to anyone looking for a trustworthy and credible partner in their property search.”

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