As Sydney’s temperature rises, so does demand for retail investment opportunities across the Eastern Suburbs: Savills

As Sydney’s temperature rises, so does demand for retail investment opportunities across the Eastern Suburbs: Savills
As Sydney’s temperature rises, so does demand for retail investment opportunities across the Eastern Suburbs: Savills


The second half of 2019 has seen a resurgence in demand from investors seeking to sweep up some of the Eastern Suburb’s most prized retail properties. 

The negative portrayal of Sydney’s economic growth seems to have kick started a desire to purchase commercial and residential property across the Eastern Suburbs. With interest rates sitting at record lows (0.75%), investor focus is now being diverted towards the property market in the search of higher returns.

Amidst the growing concerns over the impact of online shopping on high-street retail as we enter 2020, ABS 2019 data reports show that in August 2019 online retail sales accounted for 6.2% of total retail trade, indicating a minimal retail market share. 

Over the past couple of months, renowned suburbs such as Bondi, Double Bay and Woollahra have witnessed record breaking property acquisitions. It is suburbs like these that are being regarded as the best spots to invest in.

The Eastern Suburbs of Sydney contain some of the best retail strips, and we have seen a trend of areas with high foot traffic and low vacancy being targeted.

Recent key retail freehold transactions include:

27-29 Knox Street in Double Bay sold for $9,830,000 representing a net initial yield of 1.76%.

261 Bondi Road sold for $3.75m this month reflecting a net initial yield of 4%.

10 Cross Street in Double Bay sold for $10.25m reflecting a record breaking yield of 1.59%

While demand for leased assets with medium to long-term income streams seems to be a key requirement, there has been no shortage in transactions of vacant retail freehold properties that demonstrate strong fundamentals. 

Even more recently, two vacant strip retail properties (146 & 148 Queen Street in Woollahra) sold for $5.65m reflecting a building rate of $24,459sqm. Investors are now becoming more creative as purchasing retail in these coastal hubs is not simply about securing a long term income stream but also about redevelopment potential or conversion with the implementation of a new tenant.

With average prime retail yields hovering around the 4-5% mark in Eastern Sydney, there has been strong demand from yield-chasing investors who have faced continued yield compression in the office and industrial markets. Recent data shows that bricks & mortar retailing IS still very important with August retail trade having the strongest lift in spending in six months equating to a rise of 2.6% year on year.

Growth in retail is not limited to freehold assets, retail strata properties have also been a new talking point.

Shop 4, 284 Bronte Road, Waverley and 126-128 Avoca Street in Randwick transacted at yields of 5.1% and 5.45% respectively.

This indicates that attention is being directed to less expensive areas of the Eastern Suburbs as investors look to capitalise on infrastructure improvements such as the Randwick Light Rail, which has driven demand for surrounding pockets to the traditionally popular and more expensive suburbs like Bondi.

Looking ahead to 2020, whilst there is some conjecture as to how much longer this cycle will last, recent transactions have created an unprecedented pricing uplift for well-located retail properties. It is expected that investors will continue to favour the commercial property market as the probability of further interest rate cuts is soon to become reality.

Ollie Ridley is an executive for the metropolitan sales team at Savills Australia

Retail Demand Eastern Suburbs

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