A Sydney suburb wearing a disguise: How Curl Curl hides its wealth with laid-back charm...
Domain Suburb Review - Curl Curl
Wealth comes in many forms, from over-the-top displays to the under-the-radar style of US billionaire Warren Buffet, who still lives in the modest home he bought in the 1950s.
Curl Curl, on Sydney’s northern beaches, has a median family weekly income nudging $3000 a week, well above the NSW average.
James Smyth, principal at SEA-Smyth Estate Agents, says this affluence wears a casual disguise.
“You could see someone wearing a T-shirt and board shorts and you won’t know they’re the CEO of a public listed company,” Smyth says.
Curl Curl is the kind of neighbourhood where CEOs go incognito in board shorts and thongs. Photo: Steven Woodburn
Eighteen kilometres north of the Sydney CBD and five kilometres north of Manly, Curl Curl is famous for its outdoorsy lifestyle, from swimming and surfing, to running or walking along the waterfront paths.
Smyth’s family has a long history in the neighbourhood: his grandmother ran a milk bar on the oceanfront Carrington Parade in the 1950s.
He traces the birth of modern-day Curl Curl, with its comfortable family homes and small clusters of apartment buildings, to the mid-1990s, when would-be Manly buyers were priced out of that suburb.
“There was no negotiation: buyers were just coming in and paying the full asking price. Because they were coming from an area of money, they started building and renovating.”
Today’s house hunters can choose from homes in original condition, a small selection of apartments and more recently built or updated residences, often with impressive water views. They might need to be patient, as Curl Curl only has about 1400 homes, meaning “For Sale” signs aren’t all that common.
Residents enjoy South Curl Curl Lifesaving Club’s cafe, and for a bigger range of dining there is the nearby Harbord Diggers and Freshwater village. The beach lifestyle is a key drawcard luring potential buyers to the area.
The B-line bus service has been warmly welcomed by CBD commuters – from nearby Brookvale, the commute takes roughly half an hour.
Smyth says two-bedroom apartments overlooking the beach are priced from about $900,000. Free-standing three or four-bedroom homes typically command between $2.1 million and $2.7 million.
Will Bird and his then-fiance were living in Perth when they travelled to the northern beaches to get married. The couple rented a unit overlooking the surf club at Curl Curl and decided if they ever relocated to Sydney, this is where they would like to live.
They have now called Curl Curl home for three years. “I love the beach lifestyle,” Bird says. “Everyone says that but there’s no other beach in Sydney that gets such consistent surf. And for an urban beach, it’s still not overpopulated.”