Incredibly charming, character rich suburb is steeped in history and well kept, but out of financial reach of most and with some other minor flaws.

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Summary: Grand, historic and full of character, Haberfield is one of Sydney’s most charismatic suburbs that retains much of its legacy without the taint of more sterile modern development creeping in. Its Italian heritage remains obvious, not only in its excellent array of quality dining and cafes on offer, but the demographics and faces of its older residents as well. Heritage homes with picturesque gardens and quiet back streets contrast with some semi-industrial and traffic-packed parts of its extremities to form quite a contrast, however.

With a physical position that puts it within easy striking distance of the CBD along with its spacious, low-density housing blocks, it’s should be no surprise that Haberfield is highly expensive and priced out of reach for most. Add in traffic concerns with its arterial roads and some issues with aircraft noise, and Haberfield definitely isn’t perfect – but it certainly is pretty, and a part of Sydney everyone should visit at least once.

Suburb Ratings:

Public Transport

Affordability (Rental)

Affordability (Buying)

Things to See/Do


Pet Friendliness

Key stats

Region: Inner West

Population: 6,750

Postcode: 2045

Ethnic Breakdown: Italian 24.0%, Australian 18.2%, English 17.8%, Irish 9.2%, Scottish 5.4%

Time to CBD (Public Transport): 25 minutes

Time to CBD (Driving): 15 minutes

Nearest Train Station: Marion (light rail)

Highlights/attractions: Bay Run, Italian dining, heritage homes

Ideal for: Families, professionals, retirees

Median property prices: House – $2,100,000

Median rental prices (per week): House – $800; Apartment – $460

While continued development over the years and decades has continued to change the face and landscape – sometimes drastically – of many suburbs across Sydney, it’s refreshing to be able to appreciate those that still retain much of their original character.

Such is the case with Haberfield; now one of the ‘grand old dames’ of the Inner West and Sydney in general, this is a suburb that oozes with charm and feels a world away from the slick inner-city which it’s physically not far from.

Haberfield Sydney

Haberfield sits around a 15 minute drive away from the Sydney CBD, yet its mix of heritage houses, wide streets and lingering Italian culture and demographics embodies just how different individual slices of Sydney can be from one suburb to the next.

It offers a largely different atmosphere to neighbouring Ashfield across the other side of Parramatta Road, for example. Haberfield is generally cleaner and better kept-up for one, and its array of towering old trees, litter-free streets, and ample flower-rich front gardens make for a much more pleasant environment overall.

Haberfield Review

Haberfield’s streets are characterised by its countless low-lying, single-story brick Federation and Victorian homes dotted with chimneys accompanied by pristine lawns, and on typically big blocks that might occasionally be a little narrow, but tend to run a huge distance back.

It’s almost entirely low-density, roomy living here, with plenty of lingering ‘old money’ around that obviously take a massive amount of pride in the upkeep of their homes and surrounding neighbourhood. This is reflected in its older demographic, with a median age in the mid-40’s that’s well over the Sydney average.

Haberfield Gardens

There’s been campaigns against McDonalds, expansion of WestConnex and more as residents have fought over the years to maintain the atmosphere that keeps Haberfield unique.

McDonalds Haberfield

Houses labelled with shiny bronze nameplates with names like Hazleton, Firenze and Aquarius, little old Italian ladies walking their dogs, and a general upmarket vibe all comprise to make up Haberfield’s overall distinctive character.

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However, unlike other similar high-end and historic suburbs in places like the Upper North Shore, Haberfield has a lot more going on both within and in its immediate surrounds. Its highly central location is an obvious primary reason for this.

Haberfield Roads

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While the interior of Haberfield is largely quiet and serene, the suburb is also fringed by major arterial roads that make for a jarring change just a few streets away.

These come in the form of not only the eternally-busy Parramatta Road connecting through to the city and further out west, but its massive intersection with Wattle Street and the A4 as well.

Couple this with the ongoing WestConnex project, and with all the congestion here the previous illusion of Haberfield merely as a peaceful oasis can be quickly shattered.

Haberfield traffic

This does provide it with the benefit of exceptional accessibility, however – both to get elsewhere across Sydney, and for an extended array of amenities without having to travel too far.

While much of this section of Haberfield’s western tip is mostly large-scale warehousing and light industrial, car yards and the like, there’s also Bunnings and various fast food outlets as well.

While it’s not directly serviced by heavy rail, Haberfield’s border with Leichhardt offers several light rail stops which provide direct access through to Central in under 30 minutes, or onward down to Dulwich Hill.

Haberfield light rail

Bus services along Parramatta Road are also massively frequent, so in terms of connectivity to inner Sydney, Haberfield has a lot to offer and is hard to beat.

These busy outer portions aren’t the only noise factor that impinges upon Haberfield’s otherwise pretty environs. Aircraft noise is still a slight issue, with planes still pretty frequent flying overhead on the suburb’s fringes despite the reduced numbers in the current climate.

Haberfield planes 1

Haberfield doesn’t cop the main brunt of the flight path, and there’s a curfew in place in the later evenings, so this is mostly a factor during the day – yet still worth noting if you’re sensitive to plane noise.

Haberfield planes 2

Other than these concerns, the rest of Haberfield is nothing short of delightful, with two major standouts in particular: the quality of both its greenery, and its dining and retail mini-precinct.

Haberfield is known as a “garden suburb” for a reason; gorgeous gardens are a dime a dozen here, while its array of parks and reserves is likewise impressive.

Haberfield parks

Its duo of long, narrow parks that run parallel to bodies of water on both the north and south sides serve as natural barriers, with the Wadim Jegeroe Reserve alongside Iron Cove Creek and the Richard Stanton Memorial Garden section both offering a pleasant mix of waterside tree cover, picnic, playground and barbecue facilities.

Haberfield basketball courts

The latter also comes with a mix of historic curation and basketball courts, making for an excellent multi-purpose public space with walkways, space for cycling and much more.

Elsewhere, the huge Robson Park sits alongside of an inlet of the Parramatta River providing waterfront views; Algie Park is equipped with a nice big soccer pitch, multiple swings and playground equipment; and even the massive Ashfield Park sits just across Parramatta Road for those wanting something different.

Haberfield Algie Park

Mix in this with its huge aged trees, towering hedges and frequent flower displays, and Haberfield certainly earns its reputation as one of the best flora-oriented suburbs in inner Sydney – a boon to those with kids and dogs alike.

As an added bonus for pet owners, the excellent Cafe Bones on the border with Leichhardt offers great treats for doggies and humans alike, while its adjacent off-leash dog park ranks as one of the most popular in the city as well.

Dog park Haberfield

Its views in some spots are undeniably pretty, and add to the suburb’s appeal.

Follow the Bay Run along the Parramatta River and you’ve got a gorgeous exercise spot, with the cluster of big homes here facing out towards the water garnering a great outlook.

Haberfield views

The other star of Haberfield is its highly-regarded restaurant and cafe scene. The suburb’s major strip along Ramsay Street (no, not that Ramsay Street) conveys its Euro-influenced heritage to a tee.

It’s highly Italian, decked out with not only multiple great Italian restaurants and cafes, but also produce stores – think traditional delis, cheeseries, bakeries and the like with a warm and welcoming atmosphere to boot. It’s a “village vibe” without being cliche.

Ramsay St Haberfield

There are few better spots in Sydney to sample quality pizzerias, pastas and more in such charming surrounds and within dense proximity to one another.

While (at time of writing) the impacts of COVID-19 on some of these charming local spots is concerning, Haberfield’s strong legacy should ensure it remains a hotspot for this in the future as well.

Haberfield Restaurants

It’s not just Italian either; a few other international cuisines combine with an IGA, bottle shop, medical centre and other misc amenities and services to make Haberfield pretty well-equipped for daily needs outside of any bigger-box retail.

It’s utterly lacking in “nightlife”, without pubs or more raucous entertainment, and not going to win any points as an evening hangout spot for the younger crowd as a result.

Haberfield cafes

For families, Haberfield likewise fares very well. Both the suburb itself and its adjacent neighbours are home to quality private and public schools with denominational and non-denominational choices, and both Haberfield Public and Dobroyd Point are highly regarded.

Haberfield church

Its ample playground equipment and propensity to low-density living means plenty of space for kids to play as well, while its largely safe environs and low overall crime rate (0.07% per capita – bottom-third in Sydney) keep things pleasant safety-wise.

With all these desirable traits coupled with its location, it should thus be no surprise that Haberfield is highly expensive in terms of property.

Haberfield units

Other than the occasional block of old low-rise brick units towards Parramatta Road, Haberfield is almost exclusively single-story medium to large homes, with some utterly massive builds replete with massive gates, curved driveways and more skewing things even further toward the top-end of the market.

There’s a minimal amount of duplex homes, terraces, townhouse or villa style living, or even mid-rise unit blocks to diversify its housing profile, and while this is part of its charm it greatly limits the opportunity to live here for all but highly cashed-up people.

Haberfield mansions

Many of its residents have been here long-term and have no desire to move; add in the fact that it’s not the largest suburb in the world and the dollar barrier to entry is well above the Sydney average.

“People can shout about “NIMBYism”, but it’s important for Sydney to retain at least some suburbs like Haberfield.”

Median house prices for Haberfield sit at around the $2.1 million mark at time of writing – nearly 60% higher than the average – while you’re looking at around $800 per week to rent a home here as well.

Its small supply of units are more reasonable, but again there’s not too many to choose from; around $450 to $500 per week is doable for an older place.

The Verdict

Haberfield’s not without its weaknesses – traffic congestion on the fringed, spots of noise, and very high property prices among them drag its scores down somewhat – but there are simply few other suburbs across all of Sydney quite like it.

It’s a little like Leichhardt’s wealthier brother; slightly more stuffy, but with a similar character and more greenery along with a premium streetscape that’s less dense as a whole.

It’s an area that harks back to the “glory days” of semi-modern Sydney, and feels a little frozen in time. This makes it a place that’s ‘exclusive’ in both terms of the word – it’s expensive and hard to break into as a place to live, and it also excludes younger people from being able to (or probably wanting to) do the same.

Its blend of lovely streetscape, parkland, and waterfront areas also come with connectivity that few other similar suburbs can offer. You’re not sacrificing living space or amenities in return for charming, historic living here, with major roads and public transport all right on your doorstep and one of the most charismatic clusters of restaurants all within walking distance of your potential home.

It’s highly safe, it’s clean and pretty, and it’s got ample opportunities for experiencing the diverse demographics and suburbs of the other Inner West suburbs all on its doorstep.

How the ongoing WestConnex project progresses will impact on Haberfield moving forward bears watching – with tunnels and more set to be added in the coming years – but for now anyone who has a bunch of money to throw around would be hard-pressed to come up with too many major downsides for living in this lovely slice of Sydney. And, for those who can’t afford it, there’s still multiple reasons why you should pay Haberfield a visit – whether it’s to dine, shop, or simply walk around and soak in the atmosphere.

People can shout about “NIMBYism”, but it’s important for Sydney to retain at least some suburbs like Haberfield, which encompass our city’s origins and diversity, as close to their original conditions as possible.

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