The Hip Urban Pad

Inner-city dwellings that make a statement about your lifestyle


These hip urban dwellings make a statement about lifestyle. Located in the gritty inner-city Sydney burbs, they typically sell for $1 to $1.5million. The hip urban pad is defined as small, but interesting. It is a step-up in character and appeal from a “cookie cutter” investor property and suited to upwardly mobile couples.

Property types: The non-traditionally cool suburbs offer tiny terraces, single fronted cottages, masionettes and freestanding homes, just waiting to be snapped up for a song. There’s the odd run down warehouse up for grabs in these parts too.

Hot Spots: Great examples can be found in out-of-the-way Lilyfield, Glebe,  Darlington, Rozelle, Enmore and Alexandria.

Hint: A smart strategy is to choose a location that is slowly gaining social caché. Maybe somewhere borrowing interest from a new cultural institution, benefiting from cool new infrastructure or sitting on the border of a hub where prices are soaring.

Hint: In this category growth can be earned through finding a house with high potential. A good location is critical, as with all categories, but keep your eyes peeled for rabbit warren rooms that can be easily disentangled, or places where you can open up free-flowing space, to create a more impressive home for resale.

Hint: Don’t get carried away and forget to check comparable properties prices and rental returns in your chosen area. Make use of the slew of sophisticated tools available online to investigate similar joints to yours. What have others done to improve their pad? Is it a part renovation that’s yielded results, has it been fully gutted and redone from scratch or just given a fresh lick of paint? This due diligence will give you a much needed reality check to ensure you don’t over capitalise.

Think design: From a design perspective, former editor of Indesign and author of Sustainable Luxury Paul McGillick encourages people to find a young architect to make measured home improvements.

“You want an imaginative make-over with character, creating interesting and intimate spaces with what is available. Usually, it takes a good architect – young, just starting out with lots of ideas, that he or she wants to try out. Look for a place with the potential for a creative, but affordable makeover. Do not over-capitalise. Emphasise the living areas, not the kitchen or the bedrooms. The hipsters don’t cook and don’t spend much time in the bedroom, sex is uncool! They socialise relentlessly,” McGilllick says.

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