Despite the current nosedive of the Sydney property market, there has been an increasing positive focus of late on the city’s west – and with good reason. Greater Sydney is undergoing a stunning transformation – one which will render the urban sprawl as it is today, almost unrecognisable in 10 to 15 years’ time; and much of it is due to its booming population.
The origins of western Sydney’s current transformation can be traced back to the record population growth it has seen over the last 5 to 10 years. Foreign migration to the region resulted in a record-breaking increase in population between 2009 and 2017 and almost 100,000 new residents moved to the region in the 5 years between 2011 and 2016 – many of who are immigrants.
Increasing property prices in the inner city have also been a key factor, with many buyers priced out of the market for even the tiniest and simplest of apartments. From first time investors to first home buyers, to general home owners and everyday investors, the need to get into the market or to sustain property investment plans has forced buyers further and further out, landing them smack bang in the west.
This booming population, combined with more achievable property prices has made Sydney’s west a more desirable location than ever before and therefore the most ideal location for some of the state’s largest projects in modern history. Projects which will only increase the population further, with 3 regions in western Sydney all sustaining a position in recent ABS figures in the top 5 destinations (nationally) for regional overseas migration. With the NSW State and Federal Governments collectively investing billions of dollars in new projects and infrastructure across the metropolitan region, the west will continue to grow as a vast range of employment opportunities are created and will demand to be filled.
The new Western Sydney Airport Project at Badgerys Creek is probably the most significant, but this of course cannot stand alone and demands further projects to support its existence – such as new rail networks and extensions, road upgrades and other capital works – all of which will require staff and users. Over the longer term, population figures will continue to rise with Western Sydney to become the centre of The Greater Sydney Region Plan. The plan shifts the current placement of the city away from the harbour and centralises it within Sydney’s metropolitan region, which conveniently lands what will be called the Central River City, right in the heart of what is currently the west, in Parramatta.
The motivation behind this plan is to reduce transit congestion and commuting times as many Sydney residents travel more than an hour or two east just to get to work in the CBD each day. The Greater Sydney Region Plan aims for the majority of residents to be able to access home, work and general activities, with a 30-minute commute or less. With Parramatta as the Central River City, this puts suburbs like Glenmore Park, Mt Druitt, and Blacktown front and centre – each just 20 to 30 minutes from the Parramatta CBD.
Glenmore Park will be a significant benefactor of the plan. That suburb alone has seen significant growth already and the completion of the Central River City is still 18 years away! The current population has risen to 23,000 at last count and is expected to almost double to more than 40,000 over the next decade. Further drawcards include the recently completed $30 million extensions to the Glenmore Park Town Centre shopping precinct and the 8% rise in median house prices in 2017, with values continuing to climb steadily upwards. It’s not just smaller suburbs like Glenmore Park either - the NSW government is anticipating the boom on all levels, evident in funding releases such as the recent $6 million injected into preschool infrastructure. Fast growing areas like Parramatta and Blacktown among others will benefit from thousands of new preschool places thanks to the grant.
With $42.1 million being injected into a range of capital works over the next few years, suburbs that have struggled in the past – Mt Druitt is a great example – will benefit from much needed improvements as well as the ripple effect of being just 20 minutes from the new airport.
It’s breathtaking to imagine the Sydney of tomorrow, in contrast to the one we have known to date - with the current regional population in the west around 1.25 million and 1.66 million the projected population by 2036. Sydney’s harbour front status will still be the jewel in its crown but the Central River City in the west, will impact on what is one of any city’s most important qualities – its liveability.
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