Neighbourhood Notes: Bronte, Sydney
The seaside suburb offers laid-back living and luxury properties.
The seaside suburb offers laid-back living and luxury properties.
A fresh sea breeze often whistles around Bronte the laid-back seaside suburbs that boasts a beautiful beach, historic sea baths and a charming coastal culture.
Known for its healthy lifestyle vibe with a dusting of glamour, activewear is the norm here as many stride out on beachside walks, stretch in a Pilates class or do a downward dog at beachside yoga. Then there are those who chase the surf, all year long.
Sprawling luxury properties with uninterrupted grandstand views of the beach and Pacific Ocean include California-style bungalows, Italianate villas and Art Deco apartments.
Bronte Park has many attractions with barbecues, a miniature train track and a playground. Bronte Beach is home to the historic Bronte Surf Life Saving Club founded in 1903 that runs educational and fun events.
There are two picturesque rock pools including a natural one called Bogey Hole that creates a sheltered lagoon and is popular with families while a man-made ocean-fed lap pool that dates to the 1880s, sits beneath the southern headland.
Bronte is on the popular Bondi to Coogee coastal trek that spans 6kms and between two and three hours to traverse with stops along the way.
The Sydney International Airport and Sydney Domestic airport are both about 17km from Bronte, or a 40-minute drive.
Bronte is an attractive beachside suburb of Sydney, the capital of the Australian state of New South Wales.
Located in the Waverley Council local government area of the eastern suburbs, it is 7km from Sydney’s central business district.
Bronte is bordered on the north by the suburbs of Bondi and Tamarama, on the east by the Pacific Ocean, south by the suburb of Clovelly and on the west by the suburb of Waverley.
A surge to embrace a healthy lifestyle and a strong community saw real estate prices hike during the pandemic with quality properties snapped up as soon as they went on the market.
According to Eliza Owen, head of research at CoreLogic, Bronte has a median house price of $5.6 million and $1.5 million for an apartment.
Property price growth across the suburb was 18.9% over the year, comprised of a 20.3% growth in house values and 14.6% across the apartment segment.
“Median house prices in Bronte are high relative to neighbouring suburbs of Coogee ($4 million), Clovelly ($4.6 million), and Bondi ($4.4 million), but lower than the suburb of Tamarama ($6.2 million),” Ms. Owen said.
Of 596 house markets analyzed across Sydney in March, median Bronte house values were the seventh most expensive, while Bronte apartments ranked 17th of 321 markets analysed.
“The Bronte dwelling market has been in an upswing since mid-2019, following a fairly broad downturn environment over the two years prior,” Ms. Owen said. “Through the current upswing, Bronte dwelling value annual growth rates had a cyclical peak in the 12 months to September 2021—where values rose 35.5%. Now however, growth rates are easing, and quarterly changes in value reveal a -0.2% decline in dwelling values over the three months to March.”
The luxury segment—or the top 25% of the market—in Bronte starts at around $7 million for houses and $1.8 million for apartments, she added.
Bronte now has more houses and units for sale compared to the last six months of 2021, when houses barely spent days on the open market before being purchased.
Alexander Phillips from PPD Real Estate said buyers had little choice back then, but the market has stabilized and there are now more housing properties for sale.
CoreLogic recorded 39 properties on the market over the month of March, 20 of which were added over the month.
Ms. Owen said that represents around 1.3% of stock and is higher than what they saw this time last year, with just 27 listings available.
“Hold periods in the area do seem to be relatively high, at around 12 years for houses—based on the median on what sold in the past 12 months,” Ms. Owen said.
What Makes It Unique
It’s the lifestyle and strong community that makes Bronte so attractive to young professionals and families, according to Mr. Phillips.
“It differs from neighbouring beachside suburbs as there are no pubs and no backpacker accommodation, so it is very family orientated,” he said. “There are great schools, and community activities are centred around the Bronte Surf Lifesaving Club with lots of great events.”
As of 2021, Bronte’s population was just over 7,100.
Mr. Phillips said it is one of the easiest Eastern suburbs to get to the city for work and the seaside views were often a sale clincher.
“There are houses with views over split levels which are very appealing,” he said.
Ms. Owen added that Bronte Beach and the surrounding park are the obvious attractions, as well as the stunning coastal walks.
You can pick up supplies from QE Grocery Store, which features a great range of organic produce. Frank’s Deli brings a quintessential New York deli experience and a dash of European flavour, with delicious sandwiches and produce. Iggy’s Bakery is known for its fabulous sourdough and has a big following.
Some great coffee spots include Frank’s Deli, Bellagio and Cali Press, which also has tasty juices.
For a sweet treat head to Huxton’s at Bronte—their panna cotta lamington is a treat and Pilgrims Vegetarian Cafe has healthy food including veggie burgers and pancakes. Cafe Salina, adjacent to Bronte Beach has great ocean views as does Bogey Hole Cafe.
Pick up fish and chips at Bronte Fish and Chips for a picnic on the beach.
For beautiful homewares, Water Tiger in nearby Waverley, offers a great selection including furniture and Volange Paris features French inspired clothing.
There are excellent schools in the area including the Bronte Primary School, Waverley College, a Catholic school for boys from Years 5 to 12 and St Catherine’s, a private Anglican junior and senior day and boarding school for girls.
Who Lives There?
Bronte is home to many young professionals and families who enjoy an active seaside life utilizing all that the great outdoors has to offer..
F45 gym founder Rob Deutsch sold his Bronte beachfront home at 12 Bronte Marine Drive at auction for a whopping $17.7 million in April.. Australian actor Simon Baker of “The Mentalist” and “The Guardian” fame sold his house for $17 million last year. Australian Test Cricket captain Pat Cummins recently purchased a lavish $9.1 million house in Bronte.
The market could continue to appreciate long term however the short-term prices may have peaked, according to Ms. Owen.
“If more listings are added to the market, we could be looking to move into the downswing phase of the cycle,” she said.
“Now, however, growth rates are easing and quarterly changes in value reveal a 0.2% decline in dwelling values over the three months to March.”
Ms. Owen said it was not uncommon for high-end, affluent markets of Sydney to lead a decline in values more broadly.
“It’s a lifestyle market, so I think it had a lot going for it during the pandemic,” she said.” The exclusivity of the area would have also been exacerbated by lockdowns. Now that social distancing and travel restrictions have eased, it’s likely there will be a lot more people flowing through the area, which may erode some of the appeal of this market.”
Reprinted by permission of Mansion Global. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: May 7, 2022.
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You’ll never guess where they found a little extra room when renovating this west coast house
There was a time, not too long ago, when the most important must-have for would-be renovators was space. It was all about space to be together and space to be apart.
But as house prices increase across the country, the conversation has started to shift from size for the sake of it towards more flexible, well-designed spaces better suited to contemporary living.
For the owners of this 1920s weatherboard workers’ cottage in Fremantle, the emphasis was less on having an abundance of room and more about creating cohesive environments that could still maintain their own distinct moods. Key to achieving this was manipulating the floorplan in such a way that it could draw in light, giving the impression at least of a larger footprint.
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Positioned on a site that fell three metres from street level, the humble four-room residence had been added to over the years. First order of business for local architect Philip Stejskal was to strip the house back to its original state.
“In this case, they were not quality additions,” Stejskal says. “Sometimes it is important to make sure later additions are not lean-tos.”
The decision to demolish was not taken lightly.
“Sometimes they can be as historically significant as the original building and need to be considered — I wouldn’t want people to demolish our addition in 50 years’ time.”
Northern light hits the site diagonally, so the design solution was to open up the side of the house via a spacious courtyard to maximise opportunities to draw natural light in. However, this had a knock-on effect.
“We had to make space in the middle of the site to get light in,” Stejskal says. “That was one of the first moves, but that created another issue because we would be looking onto the back of the neighbouring building at less appealing things, like their aircon unit.”
To draw attention away from the undesirable view, Stejskal designed a modern-day ‘folly’.
“It’s a chimney and lookout and it was created to give us something nice to look at in the living space and in the kitchen,” Stejskal says.
“With a growing family, the idea was to create a space where people could find a bit of solitude. It does have views to the wider locality but you can also see the port and you can connect to the street as well.”
A garden tap has also been installed to allow for a herb garden at the top of the steps.
“That’s the plan anyway,” he says.
Conjuring up space has been at the core of this project, from the basement-style garaging to the use of the central courtyard to create a pavilion-like addition.
The original cottage now consists of two bedrooms, with a central hallway leading onto a spacious reception and living area. Here, the large kitchen and dining spaces wrap around the courtyard, offering easy access to outdoor spaces via large sliding doors.
Moments of solitude and privacy have been secreted throughout the floorplan, with clever placement of built-in window seats and the crow’s nest lookout on the roof, ideal for morning coffee and sunset drinks.
The house has three bedrooms, including a spacious master suite with walk-in robe and ensuite overlooking the back garden. Adjustable blades on the bedroom windows allow for the control of light, as well as privacy. Although the house was designed pre COVID, it offers the sensibility so many sought through that time — sanctuary, comfort and retreat.
“When the clients came to us, they wanted a house that was flexible enough to cater for the unknown and changes in the family into the future,” Stejskal says. “We gave the owners a series of spaces and a certain variety or moods, regardless of the occasion. We wanted it to be a space that would support that.”
Mood has also been manipulated through the choice of materials. Stejskal has used common materials such as timber and brick, but in unexpected ways to create spaces that are at once sumptuous but also in keeping with the origins of the existing building.
Externally, the brickwork has been finished in beaded pointing, a style of bricklaying that has a softening effect on the varied colours of bricks. For the flooring, crazy paving in the courtyard contrasts with the controlled lines of tiles laid in a stack bond pattern. Close attention has also been paid to the use of veneer on select joinery in the house, championing the beauty of Australian timbers with a lustrous finish.
“The joinery is finished in spotted gum veneer that has been rotary cut,” says Stejskal. “It is peeled off the log like you peel an apple to give you this different grain.”
Even the laundry has been carefully considered.
“The laundry is like a zen space with bare stone,” he says. “We wanted these different moods and the landscape of rooms. We wanted to create a rich tapestry in this house.”
The owners now each experience the house differently, highlighting separate aspects of the building as their favourite parts. It’s quite an achievement when the site is not enormous. Maybe it’s not size that matters so much after all.
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