Under the City of West Torrens and City of Charles Sturt, the inner western suburbs traditionally were view as working class areas with lower than average incomes, significant community housing and limited infrastructure. Over time however the area has grown in desirability, now with an ongoing increase in demand, especially inner ring character houses which are still below the medians of any other North, East or Southern suburb. New retail and hospitality has emerged, from small independent stores to big box retail including Adelaide’s only Ikea.
Overall, median household income across the suburbs is fairly level, with Brompton, Lockleys and Mile End being the highest for the region, and Seaton the lowest. Seaton’s figure in particular would be influenced by significant older unit stock providing low cost rental accommodation.
The average ages provides a significant variance in two examples: Fulham and Mile End. Fulham represents a median age substantially above the metro average (38.8 years), likewise Mile End shows itself to have a younger, well paid population.
A few of the reasons why an investor may consider the western suburbs:
- Lower than average medians comparative to the other Northern, Southern and East based inner suburbs
- Tree lined, character home filled streets with strong gentrification potential
- A moderately relaxed development plan, allowing infill development to cater for the increasing population
- Increasing retail, hospitality and general business in the area – Henley Beach Rd, Sir Donald Bradman Drive etc, all have updated modern commercial fitouts. Mile End Home Centre provides a modern hub for trade to cater for the higher expectations growing in the suburbs
- A short drive to the beach – CBD to the beach is a 11 minute drive, so all suburbs are only a short distance away from employment and amenity
Corey’s Suburb Pick
renovated Mile End home
Bordering the western park lands – Mile End is as inner suburbs as you can get for the Western Suburbs. The area is filled with large blocks with character stone façade homes and an increasing ‘yuppie’ vibe. Driving into the CBD is simple, especially since the underpass was completed in the 2000’s. This area used to be seen as a very average area with a reasonable working class component, however it has increasingly become ‘discovered’, with new businesses, restaurants and higher median income families moving into the area – causing ongoing gentrification.
There is a substantial renter population currently in the area, which the age demographics shows is a younger population, no doubt professionals who can benefit from the easy direct access to the CBD. As the values and desirability in the area rises, it is likely that many renters could be priced out of the market and owner occupiers increase in ownership percentage. The area will still retain a desirability in anyone needing to access employment through the CBD. Just ask David – his property management office is located in Mile End.
Investment strategies which might suit the area: renovations, buy and hold gentrification play, development
Corey’s “what to avoid”
Properties on and surrounding arterials. The western suburbs have a far higher density of arterial roads comparative to the other parts of Adelaide. The areas are used as a transport corridor of North-South, as well as from the port and airport to Adelaide. Keeping away from these arterials will limit valuation issues from noise pollution and decreased desirability.
Roads to be mindful of:
Henley Beach Rd, Sir Donald Bradman Drive, Marion Rd, Richmond Rd, South Rd, Airport Rd, Grange Rd, James Congdon Drive.
From a property managers perspective:
A great spot for investors seeking capital growth or renovation / development opportunities as the west is relatively cost effective, especially considering proximity to CBD, well established facilities and the like.
As explained in our last area review, vacancy rate of suburbs and the rental vs owner occupied ratios are important metrics to look at so I’ve sought out the statistics and provided graphs again.
Aside from the obvious outlier above, the vacancy rates match the national averages in this area with good results coming from the more traditional owner occupier filled areas.
Being the highest in both vacancy and rental population spells a disaster for Brompton, with the suburb being predominantly newly built apartments. There’s some trendy spots formed nearby but the glut formed is obvious in the graphs. Aside from Brompton, a lot more owner occupiers are present than in places we’ve covered in our previous area reviews. This is great for the demographics and stability of the area, hence the capital growth prospects. This does mean poor yields though.
Typical rents in the area
I’ve graphed the typical rents in the area, but unlike previous write ups have separated houses and units as there are a lot more units in this region and they typically take longer to rent as well. Notice that they’re higher in Brompton as the suburb is predominantly new builds as discussed earlier.
What are each of these suburbs like?
Woodville – Quite a large area as it has separate suffixes such as –Park, -North, etc. In general it’s fairly well regarded, has the train line, major hospital and a decent commercial strip along Port Rd and Woodville Rd. Some sections are quite popular with the Vietnamese.
Richmond – Light industrial and adjacent to the airport the suburb is not as well regarded, but proximity to the city does attract some.
Mile End – Adjacent to the city with 100 year old period homes. Trendy commercial along Henley Beach Rd and more traditional commercial along South Rd which is the main thoroughfare through Adelaide.
Torrensville – A popular trendy spot as has Thebarton Oval, Thebarton Theatre and the Henley Beach Rd precinct passing right through it.
Fulham – Nice houses, well-kept streets and a friendly vibe. Demographic here is an aging population mostly hailing from Italy or Greece.
Seaton – Good distance to both CBD and beach without being near the airport. Popular with younger couples who want to build H &L in infill redevelopment rather than edges of metro.
Flinders Park – Old character / period homes mixed with old industrial / commercial.
Lockleys – Avoid the section that is close to the airport but above Henley Beach Rd is quite a nice area. St Francis School is quite popular.
Croydon – Character houses in the pocket bound by South Rd and Port Rd ripe for renovation opportunities.
Brompton – Despite being adjacent to the city was a lower socio area a generation or two ago has now been entirely reinvented, mostly into OTP townhouse and unit developments.
Dave’s Suburb Pick:
Croydon used to be an out of favour suburb that has come back into favour in a big way. It has lovely character / period homes which are sure to go up in value as their supply is diminishing and are irreplaceable. The run down ones also make good renovation projects.
It is very convenient place for residents to get to work, being 2 stops on the train line or a 6km drive from the centre of the CBD. It also has good statistics as shown above.
South Rd and Port Rd are currently both undergoing expansion so steer clear of properties that back onto these for fear for being turned into an express way. The light rail / tram from the city is also rumoured to extend up to Croydon.
A typical street in Croydon
Dave’s “what to avoid”
Aircraft noise. The layout of Adelaide is such that the airport is roughly halfway between the CBD and the beach and most people don’t like living near it. To maximise the desirability to tenants, I’d avoid buying investment properties in suburbs adjacent the airport or those which are underneath the flight path. The below graphic shows departures in green and arrivals in red.