The best suburbs in Sydney to buy your first home (for the price) – and without living too far out in the sticks.

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Year after year, the barrier to entry into the Sydney property market continues to get higher for those looking to buy their first home.

Despite multiple attempts at government incentives and the introductions of discounts for first-home buyers, the vast majority of desirable Sydney suburbs remain out of reach as a place to live.

As the biggest and most important purchase most people will make in their lives, it’s only natural that those deciding to buy their first home will want to be as discerning as possible when choosing a suburb while still being able to stick to a survivable budget.

So what are the best suburbs in Sydney for first home buyers? Due to the high prices of freestanding houses, we’re separating this into two main sections – one for houses, and one for apartments.

All of these suburbs are at least reasonably safe, and come with at least a minimal amount of amenities/transport connectivity, while each offers a slightly different lifestyle in their own right.

We’re also looking at the best choices with potential home prices of no higher than $650,000 for apartments, and no higher than $750,000 for houses, to avoid stamp duty or aid with qualifications for First Home Buyers assistance schemes.

And, if possible, ideally within an hour-ish maximum commute from the Sydney CBD.


10. Kings Park

Kings Park first home buyers

Median house price: $715,000

For a first port of call when looking at more affordable areas for buying your first freestanding home, don’t sleep on several of the suburbs adjacent to Blacktown in Sydney’s west.

A surprisingly leafy and decently-connected such option is Kings Park, which sits on what’s widely considered the “good side” of Blacktown – to its north.

People may initially be turned off due to much of the suburb’s southern portion being taken up by semi-industrial and warehousing type businesses, however its residential area still manages a significant chunk of greenery despite being fringed by these as well as main roads.

Its residential homes trend toward the older and more established/smaller type builds, and while they’re not flashy they’re going to tend to be more solidly constructed than some of the other more mass-produced suburbs on this list.

Their older nature also makes the possibility of a four as opposed to three bedroom home within striking distance of first home buyer budgets; a luxury that many of the newer developments also can’t offer. Many of the streets here are surprisingly quiet given their adjacent connectivity – Kings Park’s location gives it immediate, easy access to the M7 for those travelling by car.

“The older nature of the homes here makes the possibility of a four as opposed to three bedroom home within striking distance of first home buyer budgets.”

Its other connectivity benefit comes courtesy of Marayong Station on its western border. The rail connection offers around a 50 minute train ride into the city, or even faster when catching the available express Blue Mountains services during peak.

It’s not a cafe-rich or amenity-heavy suburb outside of the odd spot of fast food or servo-style Woolies, however Blacktown itself being only a 10 minute drive away alleviates this somewhat. Kings Park is also home to a great venue for watching live sport in the recently-renovated Kings Park Tavern, while there are brewery options over at neighbouring Marayong as well.

For those sketchy about the reputation in terms of safety of some of the Blacktown’s LGA’s constituents, Kings Park boasts a lower crime rate than many of its peers.

The suburb clocks in at 0.13% crimes per capita, which puts it around mid-tier within Greater Sydney – for reference, a rate shared by the likes of Coogee and Tempe closer to the city.

9. Riverstone

Riverstone first home buyers

Median house price: $725,000

In Riverstone, what was not too long ago a mostly rural area has fast become a semi-dense slice of suburbia, with former farming paddocks having been rapidly turned into blocks for houses in a relatively short period of time.

The end result is what at its core was an older suburb having had a range of shiny new house and land packages progressively sprinkled in – which in most cases have been purpose-built with first home buyers in mind.

This means that those looking to buy in this part of the north west of Sydney now have a choice between older, established homes on bigger blocks, or recently-built modern designs on smaller pieces of land depending on which route you choose to go.

Another knock-on effect of this has been the scaling back – and downright removal – of many of Riverstone’s formerly “undesirable” elements that, while it makes its streetscape feel more generic, also makes for safer life on a daily basis as well. Lingering associations with it also suffering due to being part of the Blacktown Council are somewhat dated nowadays, as key areas have received a facelift with all the influx of newness as well.

While Riverstone offers a typical “Hills District” lifestyle – that is, you’ll likely mostly stay in the Hills, take the kids to play sport and enjoy the open space, backyard barbecues and the like – it’s also one of the suburbs in the region that benefits from heavy rail connectivity.

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“Those looking to buy in this part of the north west of Sydney now have a choice between older, established homes on bigger blocks, or recently-built modern designs on smaller land.”

With its justified reputation for the region suffering from both traffic and road toll issues, Riverstone’s train station is a boon. Although it doesn’t have the most frequent services, the fastest train option can have you through into Central in a trip that’s just under an hour.

Riverstone’s combination of established history and recent development also means there’s a decent helping of amenities within the suburb, including IGA, gyms, takeaway joints, banks and more.

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Couple this with the recent expansion of neighbouring suburbs such as Rouse Hill (with its Town Centre) and The Ponds both a reasonable drive away, and you’ve got a place to call home that’s largely quiet and green without being totally disconnected from large-scale retail and dining.

Future metro expansion also leaves the door open for growth in terms of property value, too, while the ability to drive a matter of minutes and immediately be surrounded by rolling greenery also has a value of its own.

8. Kearns

Kearns first home buyers

Median house price: $650,000

If the mix of roominess, relative peace and safety is an appealing blend, Kearns in the south-west is an underrated option that comes with a pleasant green backdrop to boot.

It’s again statistically one of the safest options for a suburb in the greater Campbelltown region; a factor that has drawn in an increasing number of young families in recent years.

While some of the other satellite suburbs to the south of this area may have a less-than-stellar reputation, Kearns is more of a safe, burgeoning village with both plenty of space and affordable housing to choose from.

If you’re looking to discard the tiny 2-bedroom shoeboxes of Sydney’s more central suburbs and get a 5 bedroom home for the same price, this is a part of the greater Sydney region in which you won’t have to sacrifice your personal security to do so.

“While some of the other satellite suburbs to the south of this area may have a less-than-stellar reputation, Kearns is more of a safe, burgeoning village.”

While it’s not the most connected suburb in the world – you’ll largely be car-dependent here, particularly if you need to access Sydney city on a regular basis – there are still train options in neighbouring suburbs such as Minto or Campbelltown itself not too far away.

The highway is just a few minutes drive off as well; expect around a 50 minute commute into the city on the M5 from Kearns (or slightly less should you be lucky with traffic). Local roads are also far more driveable and less congested on a daily basis than suburbs closer to the city as well.

The suburb itself is a little bare-bones in terms of amenities, but is still decently equipped with multiple parks, reserves and playgrounds for the kids or animals, and while it’s not exactly a hotspot for dining it does come equipped with its own IGA for daily needs.

Campbelltown Mall – quite well-equipped for retail – is also only a sub-15-minute drive away, providing a local go-to for both shopping and dining before returning to the quiet of Kearns afterwards.

7. Glenfield

Glenfield first home buyers

Median house price: $685,000

Just one individual suburb in a large pocket of south-western Sydney that is continuing to see rapid development, Glenfield benefits from a number of advantages it has over some of its immediate peers.

Chief among these is its public transport access – Glenfield boasts more solid connectivity, being a more major interchange that includes express connections, and a route to Sydney Airport that’s not only handy for domestic and international travel, but connecting on through to the city as well.

As a result, you’ve got a train trip that offers around a 40 minute journey into the city; that’s equivalent to spots in the likes of Sutherland Shire or on the North Shore except for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of savings on property prices.

The ability to jump right on the Hume Highway and drive is also an option, although it suffers a little from the tyranny of distance and all the extra development that’s happening in this regard.

In addition, while some of its southern neighbours in this area have a bit of a reputation (and actual statistics to back it up) for crime, Glenfield escapes the bulk of this to result in one of the lower crime rates in the region. Some of this is due to its lower proportion of public housing, while the rest is largely due to its increasingly family-oriented leanings.

“It’s largely a roomy and green suburb, with chunky ovals/parks and a dedicated dog area for pet owners.”

Glenfield has also seen a swath of new home construction in recent years on its northern Casula-facing side to add further supply to its existing array of more established, brick homes in the suburb’s east.

Currently a significant chunk of its land is taken up by the Hurlstone Agricultural High School, however with the potential for slices of this to be sold off in coming times it opens up the prospect for more development as well.

While Glenfield isn’t what anyone would call “amenity-rich” – its small cluster of station-adjacent stores and occasional back-street cafe notwithstanding – it sits in close proximity to a bunch of big-box retail in pretty much every direction. Casula, Liverpool, and Campbelltown itself are all just short drives away, opening up opportunities for employment and shopping alike.

It’s also largely a roomy and green suburb, with chunky ovals/parks and a dedicated dog area for pet owners, striking a good balance between space, affordability, safety and connectivity overall.

6. Quakers Hill

Quakers Hill first home buyers

Median house price: $745,000

Taking out our title of ‘Most liveable suburb in the general Blacktown area’ for a variety of reasons, Quakers Hill fares a little better in almost every desirable category than most of its immediate neighbours while still offering prices that fall within first-home-buyer range.

That’s because Quakers Hill offers most of the benefits of other more “name” suburbs like The Ponds and Schofields – yet with more affordable property prices coupled with a more organic and less generic/overdeveloped streetscape.

Likewise, it’s safer and has a lower proportion of housing commission compared to neighbouring suburbs just a few clicks over to the west as well.

The suburb offers very solid connectivity with the M7 literally running through it, and now its train station which combines decent parking with offering reasonable trips to key hubs of Sydney.

“Quakers Hill offers most of the benefits of other more “name” suburbs like The Ponds and Schofields – yet with more affordable property prices.”

A ~5 minute trip to Blacktown, around 25 minutes to Parramatta and even an under-50-minute journey all the way through to Central are all on the cards here, without sacrificing some of the key elements of safety or quality education, either.

Layout-wise, Quakers Hill offers the flexibility to choose between its older side with bigger blocks and more dated homes, and the newer section which exchanges modernity for smaller living space.

While it’s got decent enough amenities itself, Quakers Hill also sits in a spot that is “central enough” within the north-west to have a ton of amenities and shopping within a reasonable drive away in the likes of The Ponds, Castle Hill, Parklea, or even Blacktown itself.

This also includes many of the potential hotspots for work in and around Bella Vista, making for a highly flexible suburb that ticks a lot of boxes for the price.

5. Leppington

Leppington first home buyers

Median house price: $730,000

If you’re after a place to live in for your first home that’s truly modern rather than the older-style 80’s Sydney brick builds – and are willing to compromise on distance somewhat – then Leppington makes for a sound choice.

This is an area in which its entire surrounding corridor has seen rapid recent expansion, with lots of new homes and house & land packages available with all the associated breaks and incentives to encourage purchases of these on offer. It’s part of growth that may eventually continue all the way out to the mountains, but for now Leppington still remains one of the newest kids on the development block.

Unlike other suburbs we’ve highlighted here, Leppington is your typical clustered gathering of modern, carbon-copy new housing development on ho-hum sized blocks, however the difference here is that the infrastructure has been somewhat properly planned in advance.

Its station was constructed well prior to the growth in development, and offers just under an hour train ride into Central during peak, while its proximity to Badgerys Creek makes it a beneficiary of the upcoming new airport by default as well.

“All of the supply here still in place means that there’s often good value to be had when buying a home.”

Rail remains the preferred transport option this far out for those who work in the city, as drive times can clock in at around the 90 minute mark.

All of the supply here still in place means that there’s often good value to be had when buying a home, with valuations that clock in under the original price of house and land. So what else do you get for the price in Leppington?

Decently sized homes on decently sized blocks, for starters, as well as a small but growing selection of small-scale shops dotted throughout; and not much else in terms of development.

Proper-scale shopping sits down the road at neighbouring Willowdale while Casula and Liverpool’s amenities aren’t too far away either, but nonetheless Leppington remains more of a suburb “of the future” in which good things will likely come for those willing to be patient.

It’s easy to see how it could pay off in terms of both development and property value growth just a couple of years down the track.

4. Casula

Casula first home buyers

Median house price: $745,000

Here’s an option for those who want flexibility in their home base for enjoying multiple other aspects of Sydney without too much hassle.

Casula is well positioned to take advantage of multiple sections of Sydney without being too isolated from any one spot, with its south-west-central location roughly around half an hour’s worth of travel time to a range of different atmospheres – whether that’s beach, greenery, or business.

A lot of this comes down to Casula being both dissected and encircled by major arterial roads, with the Hume Highway, the M5 and the M7 all within mere minutes drive and serving as launchpads to multiple different directions.

Casula Station also offers train connectivity into the city at around an hour’s worth of travel time; the blend of both road and rail means working basically in any of Sydney’s major hubs is on the cards here.

Casula also differentiates itself from most of the other suburbs on this list due to its solid mix of amenities available within the suburb itself, rather than having to travel elsewhere.

“Casula differentiates itself from most of the other suburbs on this list due to its solid mix of amenities available within the suburb itself.”

It’s home to a cluster of big-box warehouse stores including the likes of Costo, Bunnings, the Good Guys and more – an advantage alone in itself – but also the solid array of shops at Casula Mall (including ALDI), Woolworths, takeaway joints, some local cafes… the list goes on.

This makes for a better choice for those who like things happening on their doorstep vs. some of the more remote suburbs on this list, and while there’s resulting noise and traffic issues it’s a worthwhile compensation for having some actual entertainment within your neighbourhood.

Have a drink at the Crossroads, take a walk through the parklands, send your kids to solid schools, all in an environment that is safer than the majority of suburbs which surround it.

This is what Casula offers, in addition to old, medium, and new choices in housing to suit a range of budgets with all those amenities at your fingertips.

3. Seven Hills

Seven Hills first home buyers

Median house price: $740,000

For suburbs in which its physical distance versus actual travel time is somewhat deceptive, it’s hard to beat Seven Hills. While it lies a tidy 27km out from the CBD, Seven Hills boasts a much better overall infrastructure than many of its surrounding areas – chief among which is its rapid train services, and connectivity to even more.

Seven Hills is one of the best-connected suburban areas in Sydney as far as trains go, with trips which can have you in either Parramatta in less than 10 minutes and Blacktown in half of that, or all the way through to the city in just over half an hour.

Even the drive (or bus) to Macquarie Park is highly doable, the Metro isn’t far away, and it’s basically surrounded by major arterial roads (although tolled) and thus easy for drivers to get right on the motorway in short order.

This combines with the suburb’s massive overall size and variety of living areas to make for a highly flexible spot that opens up a ton of potential for jobs all over greater Sydney. It’s home to a solid array of townhouses and other non-detached dwellings that can help make things more affordable for those priced out of a freestanding home.

“This is a place that exchanges ritzy and massive homes for a greater selection of services and amenities.”

It’s in many ways another with a “Hills District” type quality of life in the majority of its streetscape, that’s also highly leafy yet for a far lower price. This is a place that instead exchanges ritzy and massive homes for a greater selection of services and amenities.

Large parks (highlighted by its International Peace Park), solid schools and a very decently-sized shopping centre in Seven Hills Plaza combine with its industrial/warehousing eastern portion to provide options for exercise, entertainment and employment.

While its reputation for bordering neighbouring Lalor Park brings some negative connotations, and it can be a little dodgy around its station in terms of vehicle vandalism (due to its very large car park) it’s still a solidly safe suburb overall.

In all, Seven Hills is probably one of the all-round best value for money suburbs in Sydney for those who still need access to key hubs via public transport on a daily basis.

2. Granville

Granville first home buyers

Median house price: $730,000

A multicultural suburb with a balanced mix of ethnicities, Granville benefits both from its location relative to Sydney’s main “two cities” of Parramatta and the CBD, but also to its proximity to a massive variety of international flavours available nearby.

As opposed to some of its roudier neighbours, Granville is both quieter and safer (outside of the occasional loudly-revving car) while still giving you easy access to a ton of restaurants and events right on your doorstep.

Its location offers immediate access to Parramatta in a matter of mere minutes for both work and its increasing array of activities, or the option to commute the other direction into the city with only a 35-ish minute train ride during peak serves – and a station that sees a good volume of trains in general.

Alternatively for drivers, it’s easy to hop right on the highway for travelling both east-west and north-south as well.

While there’s not too much action that happens within Granville itself, it does boast some top-notch Lebanese and Nepalese food locally, highlighted in particular by its famed local chicken shops.

“This is a place that exchanges ritzy and massive homes for a greater selection of services and amenities.”

Granville also offers enough in the way of daily amenities courtesy of both Woolworths and its local fruit and veg and Asian grocery stores to easily get by. Plus, if you want more diversity, it’s easily available by heading practically next door to Harris Park (Indian food) or Auburn (Lebanese and other international cuisines).

It’s also got decent pockets of public greenery in its various parks and reserves, while its aquatic centre and sports fields provide activities for those in search of sporting and athletics to stay fit and healthy.

For living options, while many of its freestanding houses are older and historic, they’re affordable as a result. For higher-density living, Granville’s increasing supply of newly-constructed apartments around areas like William St makes for an even more accessible starting point.

1. Wattle Grove

Wattle Grove first home buyers

Median house price: $770,000

One of the more understated, “quiet (literally) achievers” of this group, Wattle Grove also rates as one of the best – particularly for younger families who want a bit of peace and quiet without being entirely disconnected from major transport routes.

Wattle Grove lies to the south-west of Sydney, but is neither “too south” nor “too west” to make commutes to the city’s key centres out of the question on a daily basis. It’s a serene, clean, and largely residential suburb with a good sense of house pride, home to houses that are roomy enough yet still reasonably affordable, too.

Its streetscape is largely mid-to-upper-mid market peaceful residential streets with a strong proclivity towards freestanding homes; its blocks are a little tight together, but also far less bland (and more solidly-made) than many of Sydney’s newer, more cookie-cutter housing developments.

It’s also statistically the safest suburb on this list; Wattle Grove experiences a very low crime rate at only 0.04% per capita that ranks it on the upper end of suburbs Sydney-wide.

It has Moorebank in place as a sort of “buffer zone” between itself and Liverpool to prevent some of the dodginess there spilling over, and the combination of this safety and its peaceful atmosphere has made it a go-to for younger families in recent years.

“We believe Wattle Grove provides the top quality of life for the price ratio of any other suburb on this list.”

Expect to see plenty of prams being pushed about, taking advantage of both its schools and the suburb’s decent number of nice, mid-sized parks. In addition, while Wattle Grove is landlocked, it also boasts a pleasant little lake in the middle that’s ideal for feeding the ducks, taking a walk on its circuit, or letting the kids burn off some energy in the playground.

It’s not a “happening” suburb, as its one shopping centre in Wattle Grove Shopping Village is small-ish, low-key and unspectacular, but it does offer a pub/hotel, and otherwise still has everything you need for daily purposes.

With the ability to almost immediately jump in your car and on the M5 to join the daily crawl to work or to more built up suburbs nearby – along with Holsworthy Station not far away for express access to the city – it doesn’t lose too much in terms of convenience for such a relatively quiet area, either.

Yes, it might be stretching your budget to the maximum, but we believe Wattle Grove provides the top quality of life for the price ratio of any other suburb on this list.


10. Canterbury

Canterbury first home buyers

Median apartment price: $640,000

Recently undergoing a pretty hefty chunk of new development, Canterbury sits on the fringes of where Sydney’s Western Suburbs meet the Inner West and offers pretty convenient access and connectivity via rail into the Sydney CBD.

It suffers somewhat unfairly reputation-wise due to its proximity to Bankstown, but is largely safe and liveable overall.

Its station has had multiple large modern apartment blocks added to it in recent years which have also brought a wave of new amenities – such as cafes, supermarkets and restaurants – along with them and a large stock of new apartment supply for prospective buyers as a result.

While historically most of the suburb has been larger and older homes, this has helped open up a section of more affordable living for those happy to downsize into a unit.

“Its station has had multiple large modern apartment blocks added to it in recent years which have also brought a wave of new amenities.”

It’s a better suburb in terms of overall atmosphere than its region’s greater reputation might convey as well.

Tons of green park areas, a river running through, easy access to medical, childcare, fast food and more when you need it round out its amenities for everything you’d need on a daily basis.

All of this wrapped up in a 25-ish minute commute by train to the city, or for drivers the ability to hop on Canterbury Road and head in instead make for an “up and coming” suburb that’s set to undergo even more gentrification in near future.

Read full suburb review >

9. West Ryde

West Ryde first home buyers

Median apartment price: $630,000

West Ryde is another suburb which scores high points for a strong balance of all-round convenience. It’s not one of those places which stands out in any particular individual area, but ticks a lot of boxes at above-average levels while also offering a pretty reasonable price considering its central-northern-Sydney location.

As a result, there’s seldom anything you’ll find lacking in West Ryde for daily life. Its connectivity its very solid, with both a fairly regular train schedule and frequent bus services along Victoria Road which can take you in either direction towards Parramatta or the Sydney CBD in around 30 minutes.

West Ryde itself has decent if somewhat basic shopping and dining amenities; both Coles and Woolies are here for supermarket needs, and it’s home to an adequate little selection of (mostly Asian cuisine) restaurants as well.

“West Ryde’s position immediately adjacent to a number of other suburbs that provide plenty of other large-scale shopping that makes the difference.”

It’s West Ryde’s position immediately adjacent to a number of other suburbs that provide plenty of other large-scale shopping that makes the difference, however – whether that’s Top Ryde, over the bridge to Rhodes Waterside & its IKEA, or up the road to Eastwood for even more eastern dining.

It’s in a decent spot for jobs, too, with not only Parramatta and the city, but also Macquarie Park within reasonable striking distance. The multiple parks and green spaces on offer are above average, and it’s easy to head down to the waterfront and catch the ferry from neighbouring Meadowbank for a chance of scenery.

West Ryde is also largely safe overall, with only its slice towards Ermington being slightly less-desirable. Add all this to a hefty supply of apartments on offer, and you’ve got one of the more unassuming – and undervalued – suburbs in this part of Sydney.

8. Rockdale

Rockdale First Home Buyers

Median apartment price: $625,000

In terms of offering an extensive array of amenities as well as public transport – combined with relative affordability – much of the St George region fares quite well.

Rockdale in particular has a lot going on, with a busy and amenity-rich main strip, solid and well-equipped shopping centre in Rockdale Plaza, and yet is still physically close enough to the beachfront at Brighton-le-Sands within literal walking distance.

It’s lacking absolutely nothing in terms of services and stores large and small; banks, cafes, local restaurants, chemists, auto dealers, medical… you name it, and Rockdale has it in spades.

Dining-wise there’s a great mix of restaurants covering a ton of different ethnicities, and it’s home to roomy green areas and ovals for sports and playing with the dog, along with bike tracks for cycling as well.

“It’s a pretty good balance between things to see and do for the younger single and young family crowds alike.”

Add in a couple of decent pubs, and a 20-ish minute commute into the city, and it’s a pretty good balance between things to see and do for the younger single and young family crowds alike.

It can be slightly hectic due to both its traffic situation and the number of people visiting to make use of its services and restaurants however, and is better suited to those who don’t mind dealing with either higher-density living or a bit of a faster pace of life compared to some of the other options on this list.

Read full suburb review >

7. Kirrawee

Kirrawee first home buyers

Median apartment price: $640,000

Few under-the-radar Sydney suburbs have seen their face change quite as drastically – or as rapidly – in recent years as Kirrawee in Sutherland Shire.

Formerly home to a fairly quiet and unassuming central strip of little local restaurants and shops alongside its mostly peaceful residential streets and “Brick Pit”, the centre of Kirrawee has undergone a massive revamp courtesy of its South Village precinct.

Akin to similar modernisation efforts in suburbs like Zetland, this new hub area has added an enormous amount of supply of modern apartments along with shopping and dining amenities, landscaped parks, gyms and other practical day to day necessities.

Supermarkets, cool little modern bars and cafes, mixed fast food and foreign restaurants and more can all now be found here in addition to Kirrawee’s older strip of local restaurants and shops, without the need to travel to neighbouring suburbs as in the past.

“Relatively affordable apartment prices combine with the suburb’s overall safety level and decent train connectivity.”

It’s immediately become a hotspot for young families as a result, with its relatively affordable apartment prices combining with the suburb’s overall safety level and decent train connectivity through to the city making for a desirable overall spot.

If you’ve been considering “the Shire” as a potential first purchase spot, don’t overlook the relatively under-discussed Kirrawee as an alternative to some of the region’s more recognised names.

6. Homebush

Homebush first home buyers

Median apartment price: $650,000

Despite the perceived high-end pricetag of Homebush as a whole due to its high proportion of high-end, freestanding homes, this convenient and centrally-located suburb on the fringes of the Inner West actually offers a pretty solid supply of relatively affordable apartments as well.

There’s quite a large “wealth gap” between Homebush’s wealthier and average streets, but all that means is first home buyers after a unit can also benefit from a centrally located suburb that offers good access to the city and western hubs alike.

It boasts a fairly hefty supply of older, brick mid-rise unit blocks mainly concentrated around its area of the Crescent, which are both solidly built and in close proximity to its train station, making it a potentially affordable spot to get on the low-end of the property ladder while still being in a pretty desirable location.

“The ability to enjoy a range of live events – from sports, to musical concerts, and more – without much travel time is a pretty cool little wrinkle.”

One of the main benefits to Homebush is for those who are going to take advantage of the large-scale amenities it has available nearby. While Homebush itself only has a fairly limited strip of small-scale supermarket and grocer, and a couple of cafes, it’s the proximity to Sydney Olympic Park that gives it a unique aspect.

The ability to enjoy a range of live events – from sports, to musical concerts, and more – without much travel time is a pretty cool little wrinkle. Yes, it has some fairly significant issues with traffic, but its train connectivity makes direct connections through to the city a reasonably efficient alternative.

Read full suburb review >

5. Penshurst

Penshurst first home buyers

Median apartment price: $590,000

For those in search of an apartment with plenty of choice on offer in terms of supply, Penshurst is hard to beat. Statistically, it boasts one of the highest percentages of apartments vs. freestanding homes of any suburb in Sydney, clocking in at an impressive 83% of Penshurst’s housing supply.

This isn’t simply some sterile, apartment-heavy concrete jungle ghetto, however. Penshurst itself is quite leafy, with a pretty charming main little retail and dining strip, and a low overall crime rate that places it as one of the safer suburbs in Sydney overall.

Penshurst sits in a position towards Sydney’s south that still puts it within a very reasonable commute to the city by train, with a station that sees most services make stops here as well. You’re looking at around a 25 minute trip into the city by rail, and while drivers have a bit more of a slog, it’s still far more viable than many similar-priced suburbs further out.

Penshurt’s streetscape is otherwise pretty quaint, with pockets of old British-style red brick freestanding homes, roomy parks for cricket and other sport, and colourful purple Jacaranda trees dotted throughout.

Most of its apartments are older, brick builds, and while they’re not modern or fancy they’re more solidly-built than most of the newer popup-style construction many of Sydney’s newer suburbs have seen in recent years.

“Penshurst boasts one of the highest percentages of apartments vs. freestanding homes of any suburb in Sydney.”

Penshurt’s main street of – you guessed it – Penshurst Street is adequate if not overwhelming with amenities, with an IGA, butchers, cafes, bakeries and more, and on the opposite site of the railway The Strand boasts several more cute eateries and services as well.

In addition, its immediate proximity to Hurstville next door makes it a matter of minutes to have access to both a large Westfield shopping centre, tons of Asian dining, and a larger transport hub for getting to additional parts of Sydney in short order.

We currently have Penshurst as one of our better-rated suburbs in Sydney overall (for the price), and its affordable apartment living vs. benefits ratio is a major reason why.

Read full suburb review >

4. Enfield

Enfield first home buyers

Median apartment price: $635,000

“That little suburb near the train yard”, Enfield is kind-of-sort-of-Inner-West-but-not in terms of geography, but comes quite close in terms of lifestyle. This peaceful and understated little pocket is quaint and quiet, yet punches above its weight in terms of what it contains relative to its physical size.

Unlike some of the other suburbs on this list, Enfield actually benefits from its lack of a train station in that it doesn’t quite get as hectic, noisy or crowded as some of its bigger-name and more popular neighbours, yet still serves as an easy springboard into areas for work and play not too far away.

It’s well-serviced by buses at any rate, which can connect directly onto the major neighbouring transit hub at Strathfield for rail trips to multiple other locations, or simply stay on the bus along Liverpool Road into the city.

The suburb’s most notable “attraction” is the expansive Henley Park, which offers a solid assortment of facilities for pets and kids alike, with a dedicated dog area segregated by the size of your dog. Add in ample space for sports, picnics, barbecues and walking, and you’ve got one of the better suburban parks this close to the city.

“Enfield actually benefits from its lack of a train station in that it doesn’t quite get as hectic.”

Pubs and cafes dot parts of Enfield, and it comes with an IGA for small-scale groceries; for bigger shops, the massive concentration of dining at Burwood and its Westfield as well as Strathfield Plaza are only a stone’s throw away, while not having to deal with all the hectic atmosphere they bring within Enfield itself.

Enfield’s small size means that supply of housing is often limited, however apartment-wise it still boasts a decent array of both older brick units along with some batches of newer, modern apartments on the suburb’s western fringe.

In all, it’s a great choice for accessing the upbeat parts of the Inner West should you want them, while being happy with a more subdued local area on a daily basis.

3. Bardwell Park

Bardwell Park first home buyers

Median apartment price: $590,000

Practically-located and largely well-kept, Bardwell Park tends to get lumped in with the same under-discussed “cluster” of suburbs which it sits among in the same pocket to the south-west of the CBD, which doesn’t really belong to a name-brand region.

Alongside its brothers Bexley and Turrella, these suburbs suffer from public opinion (or lack thereof) largely because they simply don’t have any major landmarks or “attractions”, more than the fact that they’re not a convenient and perfectly sufficient place to live.

Bardwell Park in particular is basically a gem hidden in plain sight in this regard, with many benefits that bigger-name suburbs don’t have – whether that be a lack of plane noise, an easy commute into the city, or just noisy and dirtier streets in general.

It’s closer to the city than you might think, with a sub-20-minute train ride into Central and a perfectly reasonable drive to both the Airport and more “entertaining” suburbs such as Marrickville or Rockdale. Bardwell Park also suffers from less traffic overall, as it’s not used as too much of a through-suburb as many of its peers.

“Bardwell Park in particular is basically a gem hidden in plain sight.”

With a streetscape that’s mostly green and leafy, and dotted with multiple reserves despite no flagship park, its main downfall is a lack of stores and restaurants – however don’t sleep on its surprisingly excellent RSL right next to the station that offers multiple sub-types of dining and drinking venues within.

While it’s mainly a suburb dedicated to larger, freestanding homes on pretty large blocks, there’s still a decent handful of older and semi-modern brick units to keep an eye on for when they pop up.

If you’re after one of the quietest suburbs around that’s not in the middle of nowhere and still has train connectivity, Bardwell Park should be on your list.

2. Jannali

Jannali first home buyers

Median apartment price: $620,000

Slowly undergoing a more modernised revamp one shiny new unit block at a time, Jannali in Sutherland Shire is gradually having elements of “cool” added to what is traditionally a peaceful suburban streetscape.

Its station-adjacent shopping and dining strip still has a quiet charm about it, but is gradually being fleshed out with the addition of a trendy little cafe here, or a modern-style bar there. These go hand in hand with its already established quality schooling options and roomy ovals to make for a suburb that’s more fleshed out and balanced than the non-event it was in the past.

It’s now home to a handful of quality restaurants and cafes, in addition to its local bakers, butchers, mixed services and longstanding Flemings (now Woolworths) supermarket for daily needs.

While it may not boast the water views of an Oatley or Como, both of these are just a short hop away, while its location on the northern slice of the Shire means that the train commute to the city is less of a mission than the “deep” shire suburbs further below it.

“It is gradually being fleshed out with the addition of a trendy little cafe here, or a modern-style bar there.”

Expect around a 35 minute train trip into the city, with the ability to typically still get a seat on departing as well.

Head in the other direction, and the larger-scale shopping of Miranda or the beaches of Cronulla aren’t too far away, either.

Jannali has seen a smattering of new, modern apartments completed right alongside its railway line recently, and while these may be outside of the first home buyer budget, its existing array of older blocks still provide a more affordable option without compromising on the quality lifestyle the suburb offers.

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1. Hornsby

Hornsby first home buyers

Median apartment price: $645,000

We have Hornsby rated as #1 in our “Best Places to Live in Sydney (for the price)” list at time of writing, so it should come as no surprise to see it listed highly here as well.

We get asked all the time why it is we so strongly recommend Hornsby, and the response is simple: there’s no other suburb that provides the same mix of large-scale shopping and activities like cinemas, rail connectivity, safety, access to national parks, and relatively reasonable prices that Hornsby does.

Let’s compare with the other major shopping centre-adjacent areas around Sydney. Liverpool? Less safe, and dirtier. Miranda? Ditto. Chatswood? A lot more expensive. Bondi Junction? Good luck affording a decent place on a first home buyers’ budget. The list goes on.

Hornsby also offers a streetscape with plenty of both old and new apartments to choose from, some nice little historical aspects, and good general public amenities like clean parks, aquatic centres, and more.

“Hornsby’s location up north makes it far more feasible to have a getaway to a number of desirable green spots.”

All this while still providing a solid commute into the Sydney CBD (40 minutes) and North Sydney (33 minutes) business and working hubs via train is a hard blend to match.

Hornsby’s location up north also makes it far more feasible to have a getaway to a number of desirable green spots in Greater Sydney without having to fight your way up through and out of the city; not only pretty neighbouring areas like Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and Berowra, but for weekend getaways up to the Central Coast and beyond as well.

It’s safe with a low crime rate, too, and a great place overall to start out in your first home buyer property journey before moving your way further up the property ladder.

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