The ‘Hipster’ guide to Sydney’s up-and-coming suburbs

“The hipster subculture is stereotypically composed of affluent or middle class youth who reside primarily in gentrifying neighbourhoods.  It is broadly associated with indie and alternative music, a varied non-mainstream fashion sensibility, vintage and thrift store-bought clothing, generally progressive political views, organic and artisanal foods, and alternative lifestyles.” (1)

As you’re probably already aware cafe culture and gentrification can significantly drive up an areas property prices, so it’s worth knowing which areas are well on their way to hipsterdom.

To pinpoint the areas in Sydney that are likely to see an influx of artsy Gen Ys, (2) analysed the trends of issued liquor licences, walkability score and the demographic profiles (including the percentage of independent youth aged 18-35) that are residing within numerous NSW locations. They also spoke to local real estate agents from each of the respective suburbs and checked out some of the trendiest vegan and organic bars, restaurants and cafes to supplement their findings.

Take a look at a summary of their findings (plus some insight from the Divitis team) below, then vist our website for more information on how you too can join the ‘hipster’ tribe and purchase your dream property in an up-and-coming Sydney suburb.

Marrickville (2204)

You can already include Marrickville in Sydney’s ‘hip’ list, however it’s status will be solidified now that the lockout laws have altered Newtown’s atmosphere and pushed the nightlife out to neighbouring suburbs. Marrickville has also been revealed as Sydney’s second most affordable suburb within 10km of the CBD (after Eastlakes) by the stats people at CoreLogic (3).

  • Median property price of $1.23 million
  • House price growth in the past 3 years 53.15% (4)
  • Median weekly rent is $730
  • 7% of residents are renting
  • 6% of the population are ‘Independent Youth’ (predominant age group is 25-34 years)
  • $2,100 – average monthly mortgage repayments
  • 59% rise in the number of issued liquor licences (Between 2012-2015)
  • Proportion of High Density Dwellings 40%
  • 8km from the CBD – walkability score of 97 (Walker’s Paradise) – Transit score 77
  • Urban Living Index 83 – Rank 3

Top eateries

Hello Auntie – Traditional Vietnamese, try the beef pho and the banh xeo (crispy pancakes).

Cornersmith – established café with a simple menu, featuring house-pickled goods.

Marrickville Organic Food Market – a mix of fashion and fresh food stalls, held on Sundays.


St Leonards and Crows Nest (2065)

Crows Nest has been named the most liveable suburb in Sydney by the Urban Living Index. This score is based on 5 categories Affordability, Community, Employability, Amenity and Accessibility. St Leonards is also becoming something of an artists’ enclave, with galleries quickly popping up along Atchison Street and a buzzing nightlife to boot.

  • Median sale price is $1.7 million
  • House price growth in the last 3 years 34.42% (4)
  • Median weekly rent for St Leonards and Crows Nest is $685 and $930 respectively
  • 8% are renting in St Leonards while 47.30% are renting in Crows Nest
  • 60% of the population are ‘Independent Youths’ (predominant age group is 25-34 years)
  • $2,100 – average monthly mortgage repayments
  • 27% jump in the number of liquor licences from 2012-2015
  • Proportion of High Density Dwellings 71%
  • 4km from the CBD – walkability score of 96 (Walker’s paradise) – Transit Score 76
  • Urban Living Index 85 – Rank 1

Top eateries

The Hayberry – Ace burgers, sweet tunes and a decidedly not-North-Shore feel.

FoxTrot – Welcoming bar (comfy sofas and a fireplace) serving classic cocktails and simple pizzas.

The Stoned Crow – Large, buzzing bar with candlelit communal tables and resident DJ.


Auburn (2144)

Auburn is one of the most culturally diverse areas in Sydney with nearly 60% of residents born overseas. Head to Auburn Botanic Gardens for peace and quiet or to the Melton or Keighery Hotels for a shot of nightlife. If you’re looking for some arts and culture, soak up the creativity at the Auburn Artist’s Network meetings held by the Peacock Gallery & Auburn Arts Studio.

  • Median sale price in Auburn is $897,000
  • House price growth (2013-2016) 10% (4)
  • Median weekly rent is $480
  • 3% of households are renting
  • 2% of the population are ‘Independent Youths’ (predominant age group is 25-34 years)
  • 29% rise in the number of approved liquor licences between 2012 and 2015
  • 19km west of the CBD – walkability score 94 (Walker’s Paradise) – Transit Score 66
  • Urban Living Index 69 – Rank 62

Top eateries

Mado Café – Turkish café specialising in desserts, try the Dondurma (stretchy Turkish Ice cream).

Jasmin1 – High quality, low cost Lebanese food. Be sure to try complimentary cardamom tea.

Real Turkish Delight – Founded in 1974, they produce 80-100 tonnes per year in 7 flavours.


Narrabeen (2101)

“Quiet, convenient and affordable” (5) . Narrabeen is known as the gem of the Northern Beaches due to its proximity to one of Australia’s most iconic beaches (stretching over 3 kilometres or golden sands from Long Reef to Narrabeen Lagoon), good transport links and local amenities. The Narrabeen Sands Hotel is a great spot for a beer near the beach and the Narrabeen Lakes Festival is held yearly in November.

  • Median house price $1.8 million
  • House price growth (2013 – 2016) 13% (4)
  • Median weekly rent is $1,050
  • 40% of households are renting
  • 10% of the population are ‘Independent Youths’ (predominant age group is 25-34 years)
  • 91% spike in the number of liquor licences being issued from 2012 to 2015
  • 23km north east of the CBD – walkability score 60 (Somewhat Walkable) – Transit score 47
  • Urban Living Index 58 – Rank 118

Top eateries

The Bored Monkey – Casual restaurant with friendly service, beer on tap and live music after 7pm.

Barbuto – modern Australian meals, including Kangaroo and in-house smoked salmon.

Limani – extensive seafood menu (with a Greek influence), great presentation and huge portions.


Zetland (2017)

Nestled in its conveniently central location, Zetland is reaping the benefits of spillover from nearby suburbs such as Redfern, Surry Hills and Eveleigh. Zetland is a largely industrial suburb with medium- to high-density residential areas. Zetland is part of the Green Square district which is currently undergoing major redevelopment, involving an urban renewal project that is constructing modern retail, business and residential developments.

  • Median house price $1.2 million
  • Unit price growth (2013-2016) 9% (4)
  • Median weekly rent comes in at $750
  • 8% of households are renting
  • 3% of its residents are ‘Independent youths’
  • 38% increase in the number of issued liquor licenses from 2012 to 2015
  • Proportion of High Density Dwellings 75%
  • 6km from the CBD – walkability score of 90 (Walker’s Paradise) – Transit score 70
  • Urban Living Index 80 – Rank 13

Top eateries

Lucio Pizzeria – large restaurant, specialities include the ‘Il Gran Tagliere’ and well renowned pizzas.

Nan’s Place – corner café, offering an all-day menu, top notch coffee and a soundtrack that skips from Creedence Clearwater to Dolly Parton.

I am Siam – little eatery serving low cost Thai. Expect great service and fresh and delicious food.

Suburb liquor licence trend  
Area Liquor licences (% change from 2012 – 2015)
Marrickville 16.59
St Leonards/Crows Nest 18.27
Auburn 17.29
Narrabeen 13.91
Zetland 8.38%
Suburb walkability score   
Area Walk score
Marrickville 95
St Leonards/Crows Nest 87
Auburn 93
Narrabeen 75
Zetland 82
Demographic profile  
Area Independent youth
Marrickville 42.60%
St Leonards/Crows Nest 68.60%
Auburn 30.20%
Narrabeen 60.10%
Zetland 54.30%
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