Aspect makes a comeback with Sydney waterfront property

Aspect makes a comeback with Sydney waterfront property
Aspect makes a comeback with Sydney waterfront property

It was our fourth Surveyor-General Sir Thomas Mitchell who led the harbourfront residence push when he built the 1840s residence, Carthona on the shores of Darling Point, which is still seen and admired.

But concerns over sanitation saw many of the pioneer plutocracy taking themselves instead to harbourside ridges. 

During World War II, the fear of invasion via the harbour led to a loss of interest in waterfronts.

They haven't always been the must haves.

But come the late 1980s, the playwright David Williamson had detected the firming in sentiment when he wrote his 1987 play, Emerald City.

"No-one in Sydney ever wastes time debating the meaning of life - it's getting yourself a water frontage," one character advised.

Ofcourse not all waterfronts are alike. Not all the wisest of trophy home acquisitions.

The recent $80 million sale of four adjoining homes on Coolong Road, Vaucluse as a harbourside compound for Russian entreprenuer was significant for several reasons, not the least that it marked a return to the more traditional approach to the selection of prestigious property.

Aspect once again reigned supreme, not the picture postcard view that's highlighted every New Year's Eve.

Traditionally a northeast facing sheltered bay with boating facilities on Sydney Harbour was the most sought after buying waterfront option, but because of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and then the Opera House there's been an escalating value add to the west facing eastern suburbs homes.

This has become even more pronounced given the surging interest from off-shore buyers who often comment to estate agents “when I am in Sydney I want to know I am in Sydney by seeing the icons from my lounge room”.

Waterfronts to the west of the Harbour Bridge have seen their own transformation, especially as its industrial sites have been remediated.

The gentrification of the waterfront ever westward has meant the million-dollar price tags are the norm, and not just on the main harbour. All the way up the Lane Cove and Parramatta rivers. And Sydney's other waterways too.

When choosing the right waterfront, professional help is helpful from the buyers' agent through to the architect.

Bear in mind that councils have special foreshore protection zones that impose restrictions. 

Starting with the aspect, a north east facing home is most desirable.

The next point to consider is the depth of the waterfront. Can it accommodate a jetty or a pile berthing for your boat? 

Buyers need to consider how swells might impact with the quieter waters of bays definitely preferred.

The opposite of swells, low tide must also be borne in mind because it can become sandy and muddy. Or worse smelly with seaweed and scattered with debris.

Sandy beaches tend to attract the public who are generally allowed access to all areas below the mean high water mark.

If the waterfront is close to ferry wharfs, it will be noisy. Then there's the tour boats with their megaphone commentary which landowners can hear about themselves! Add to that the party boats with their blaring music and light show.

Accessibility to the waterfront from the house is another important consideration. Steps and inclinators are a turn off for may buyers. Steep waterfront blocks are a challenge, engineering wise and also ease of parking. 

Lastly some might wish to bear in mind the impact of climate change and rising seas as it could potentially effect especially on reclaimed land.

Selecting a property with just a great view in mind is possibly not the wisest outlay.

Harbourfront Sydney Harbour

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