Lisa Calautti, Property Journalist
First published 24 Nov 2023, 4:04pm
Compared to its booming 'sister suburbs' in Sydney's east and north, this southern hotspot has been flying under the radar.
But a new wave of upmarket apartments is driving demand from downsizers looking for a mix of luxury and low-maintenance lifestyle.
Located on the southern tip of Sydney's coastline and within the heart of the Sutherland Shire, Cronulla is surprisingly well-connected, being the only beach in the capital city that can be directly reached by train.
Offering a laid back coastal lifestyle and an array of restaurants, bars and cafes, the appeal of Cronulla has seen house prices rise 2.3% to $3,255,000 in the past year.
Lifelong Cronulla resident Christian Payne from Payne Pacific Real Estate said it was not too long ago that many people knew little about where Cronulla was.
“It wasn't a tourist destination that [Manly and Bondi] are but it's becoming more and more a destination now,” he said.
Limited waterfront real estate has seen more properties go vertical as developers meet that growing demand, raising the benchmark in both amenity and price.
“When I started in real estate there was no internet, digital wasn’t a thing… and back then what waterfront property was worth, there was no way that there would be a waterfront unit worth more, and now there are stacks of units worth more than a waterfront [house].”
Cronulla has the only beach in Sydney that can be directly accessed by train. Picture: Getty
Mr Payne said unlike other Sydney beaches, Cronulla was well connected via public transport and has no parking meters.
“It's completely underrated – we are 40 minutes from the airport, you can get a train to the airport, and in the middle of the day you can get there in about 30 minutes and it’s not that far to the city,” he said.
“Cronulla is pretty relaxed. In summer when it's just a nice day there's a really good vibe and it gets very busy, but it's a great place.”
PropTrack economist Anne Flaherty said Cronulla offered a similar lifestyle to Bondi but in a more affordable location.
“If we look at Bondi, the median house price is $3.715 million and the median unit price is $1.33 million,” she said.
Located on the southern tip of Sydney's coastline, Cronulla offers a similar lifestyle to Bondi and Manly but with entry level options. Picture: Getty
While unit prices in Cronulla have fallen 10.7% during the past year to a median of $960,000, Ms Flaherty said it presented more opportunities to buy.
“According to our website, we've had 294 units sell in Cronulla over the past 12 months,” she said.
“But even though that's over the past 12 months, currently, there's 111 units available this past month.
“Essentially from a buyer's perspective, it's great news when there's a high availability of properties for sale and one of the reasons we've probably seen property prices fall over the past year is that there has been a lot of options out there for buyers so the conditions haven't been very competitive.”
Laura McKay and Mitchell Wynn from Highland Sutherland Shire and St George, who have been selling property in Cronulla for 14 years, have noticed a meaningful uptick in buyer interest coming into the summer months.
New restaurants, cafes and shops, as well as the redevelopment of the Cronulla mall were breathing new life into the suburb, Mr Wynn said.
“A lot of new commercial shops are being implemented in many of these new developments as well so there's more cafes, shops, restaurants, that sort of thing,” Mr Wynn said.
Ms Mckay said Cronulla was attracting a mix of buyers, which was being driven by the variance in price points.     
 “You have still got your entry level, red brick apartments at $700,000, and then obviously we’ve got the prestige stuff, right up to one enquiry at $20 million,” she said.
 “So, it's literally a whole melting pot, and that's what makes the suburb interesting because you’ve got youngies, you've got oldies, you’ve got downsizers, you've got families.”
The biggest change in the Cronulla property market has been in the luxury apartment development space, Mr Wynn said, noting an array of new, quality residences that were attracting huge demand.
“Some of those prices are going beyond what the waterfront [properties] are, where typically people would sell a waterfront, downsize and probably cash up a bit,” Mr Wynn said.
“But now those prices are exceeding what the waterfronts' are, so they're not typically cashing up as such. They're looking for a lifestyle change.”
Cronulla has seen 257 properties change hands during the past 12 months, according to preliminary data reported by agents to
Mr Wynn said the $13 million sale of an extensively renovated 25-year-old apartment at 15/7-9 Tonkin Street, Cronulla broke sales records.
This renovated apartment overlooking the Cronulla wharf recently sold for $13m. Picture:
And with an asking price of $8m-8.5m, a brand new ground floor apartment at 65A The Esplanade, Cronulla is generating strong buyer interest.
“Being a direct, ocean front, and dual occupancy development gives you that apartment style lifestyle, not being on a big block which isn't sometimes for everyone,” Mr Wynn said.
Occupying the entire ground floor, this three-bedroom home is a downsizer's dream. Picture:
The low maintenance apartment features three bedrooms, three bathrooms, a lift to all levels, ocean views and direct access to The Esplanade and the beach.
Floor-to-ceiling windows flow out to an entertainers deck with direct access to The Esplanade and ocean. Picture:
“It still comes with a great outdoor entertaining space and yard space which the downsizer in the market – after having it – still want.”
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