|Next stop: train changers |
| Location, location - near the station is where it's at |
| By Alex Brooks |
| AS PETROL prices skyrocket above $1.60 a litre, the next real estate hot-spots in Sydney's volatile residential housing market will be within a kilometre of train stations, say property experts.|
"We have seen people moving to tree change and sea change locations, but there could be train change for people looking for something close to public transport," said Charlie Nelson, founder of the trend-spotting analyst Foreseechange.
BIS Shrapnel economic forecaster Robert Mellor said years of rising petrol prices are changing the behaviour of home buyers, with houses and apartments within a kilometre of a railway station more likely to have price spikes than those further away from public transport.
"The main driver of property values in the next decade is access to the train station; everything within a kilometre radius of the train station in Sydney will be in demand," said KPMG demographer Bernard Salt.
"People will also sell-up to relocate closer to work. Another driver of value could be places within a 20-minute drive of, say, Norwest Business Park, where there are high-value white-collar workers in large numbers who want to be a 15-minute drive down the road."
Even RailCorp is saying the 4.4percent increase in the number of commuters catching the train in 2008 is because of more people living in apartments close to train lines. "The main reason for growth across certain lines of the network is unit development around stations," a RailCorp spokesman said. "We've seen this have significant effect, particularly in the Parramatta to Auburn rail corridor as well as at Rhodes and Wolli Creek."
BIS Shrapnel senior economist Jason Anderson said that under Bob Carr the State Government had encouraged high-rise apartment development close to train stations.
The NRMA estimates it costs commuters from Penrith $336 a week to drive to the city, while those in Wollongong or Gosford pay $520 a week and $462 a week respectively.
"It's no wonder people want to live near trains. It's going to be the cheapest way to get to work," Mr Salt said.
Mr Anderson predicts that older-style apartments close to train stations will be the first to have price increases when the residential property market starts to gain momentum late next year or the year after.
"The value proposition is extremely good for people who are renting to say 'Hang on, it will cost me the same to buy a place a bit further out, so I may as well do that,"' he said.
He predicted rental increases of up to 40percent across Sydney and said tenants and buyers alike will aim to live close to public transport links and the city for lifestyle reasons.