Curl Curl and North Curl Curl – or Curly to the locals – used to be one of the best kept secrets on the Northern Beaches. Known for its gorgeous beaches, extensive parklands and handful of local shops, Curly has always had a laid-back, small-town vibe.
But the cat is out of the bag with the sister-suburbs gaining popularity in recent years. New families are buying into Curl Curl and North Curl Curl, prices are skyrocketing and property quality is on the up as old beach shacks are knocked down or renovated.
To understand more about Curly and the state of the property market, Nook Money’s Mortgage Broker, Cat Denney, sat down for coffee with local real estate agent and Curl Curl/North Curl Curl expert, Rob Killian from Belle Property.
Photo of Curl Curl Beach by Karan Varshnei on Unsplash
Rob, every day you engage with buyers who are trying to get a foothold on the tightly held Curly market. What is it that draws people to the area?
What makes Curly so special is its simplicity. It’s got a great beach, a few coffee shops and a dog park. The beach is pretty much untouched and the locals are fiercely protective of it.
Curly has lots of outdoor space and some terrific coastal walks, so it appeals to people who love the outdoors and an active lifestyle. The Abbott Road playing fields and netball courts are very popular with families.
Another drawcard are the local schools – with Harbord Primary and North Curl Curl Public School considered among the best on the Beaches. You’ve also got the highly desired St Luke’s Grammar just up the hill in Dee Why.
There’s a small town vibe in Curly that’s hard to articulate but which the locals love. Everywhere you go you run into people you know whether it’s at the beach, walking the dog or taking the kids for a scooter at the netball courts.
The other great thing is that the bustling suburbs of Dee Why and Manly are a few minutes away, offering easy access to great cafes, restaurants, pubs and bars.
When it comes to property, is there such a thing as a typical Curly buyer?
That’s an interesting question. Curly has something for everybody and that’s reflected in the mix of people who are buying into the suburb.
One of the big things to note about Curly is that around 40 per cent of people who live here are old school locals who’ve been here for decades. It’s part of what gives the area its small-town charm and makes the neighbourhood so friendly.
However, there has been an influx of new residents in the past few years. We’ve seen lots of couples in their 40s with, say, two or three kids in primary school looking to upsize to properties that suit their changing needs.
Another trend, especially in the last 18 months, has been a pick-up in buyers coming from Sydney’s eastern suburbs. I’d say it used to be around one in 20 buyers would be from that area, but now it’s more like three in 10. A significant proportion are downsizers attracted to the beach lifestyle offered by Curl Curl.
Finally, there’s the COVID-19 factor which is seeing Aussie expats return home to the area. And with more people now working from home, the suburb’s appeal has grown among those who no longer need to commute to a CBD office, or who are commuting less.
We hear a lot about house prices booming in Sydney, where does Curly fit in?
Like the rest of Sydney, house prices in Curly have increased markedly over the last year or so, with average gains of about $800,000. The average house price in the suburb now sits at around $3.2m.
There’s a bunch of reasons for this. As I mentioned, more people are interested in the area now that they can work from home, people from the East are moving over as it’s more affordable and expats coming home are helping push prices up too.
But also, I think Curly was previously undervalued. More people are discovering it now and recognising what a great spot it is.
Adding to this are restrictions in supply. Curly is a very closely held suburb. People get in and hold on. There are a lot of in-family ownership transfers that reflect this and in North Curly there are only about 45 sales per year.
What are your tips for buying in Curly?
The big thing is to move fast. Selling campaigns have been condensed so you’re now seeing people make offers on property in the first week instead of first two weeks, which was generally the case previously. Buyers are being very decisive.
Looking ahead, there’s likely to be a window of opportunity for prospective buyers as the market returns to a more normal setting post pandemic, and prices moderate as a result.
(Broker tip from Cat Denney – Don’t forget to get a mortgage pre-approval before you go shopping for your property. It will give you clarity on how much you can spend and give you confidence to bid at auctions or make offers on properties.)
If you’re looking to sell in the area, what would your advice be to vendors?
First off, make sure you understand Curly’s unique property market dynamics so you know what a fair, good and great offer looks like. Doing your research ahead of time will mean you’re ready to move when offers come in.
Also, understand the limitations of your property such as whether your property is going to have broad appeal, or is it quirkier with interest likely to come from niche buyers. This will help you to have realistic expectations on price.
My other key tip would be to note that things are slowing down a bit, and the area’s shifting from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. Don’t get me wrong, prices are still solid. But with more stock coming on the market, people will stop paying over the odds for less premium properties.
To get in touch with Rob
Belle Property Manly
0418 487 099