No longer on the nose
Malabar’s young family boom
THERE used to be a whiff of snobbish disdain about the southeastern suburb of Malabar, house prices dragged down by a poo pipe and proximity to Long Bay jail.
“When I was young — and I’m talking 40 or 50 years ago — it was one of those places you didn’t really want to live in,” says the deputy mayor of Randwick, Danny Said, who grew up in the neighbouring suburb of Matraville.
“Pioneer Park was a rubbish dump, the sewage went straight into the sea and you had the jail.”
But since the 1990s, outfalls have removed the sewage from Malabar Bay and trees surround the jail.
“You wouldn’t even know it’s there,” said Cr Said, 55, who loves Matraville so much he’s stayed, first buying a townhouse and then a house where he and his wife still live.
Young families from Randwick and Coogee have been migrating to both suburbs in droves, craving the homes on big blocks and relative affordability.
And that’s pushed up house prices astronomically in Malabar and Matraville over the past five years — with more growth in that period than in Coogee and Randwick, according to CoreLogic.
Over the year, as the median value of Sydney houses has fallen 8.43 per cent, in Malabar they’ve risen 10.3 per cent.
“People are getting priced out of the more desirable eastern suburbs,” Real estate.com.au economist Nerida Conisbee said. “Certainly there’s a ripple effect.”
The extraordinary growth has been a boon for Malabar homeowners Catherine and Christopher Reitz.
Mrs Reitz (nee Barclay) was in Australia’s Olympic tennis squad when she met Dr Reitz, then on the German field hockey team, at the 2000 Sydney Games.
They married in 2003 and bought their five-bedroom home at 27 Nix Ave for $953,000 in 2005. It’s now up for December 1 auction through McGrath Coogee agents Angus Gorrie and Nicholas Wise with a guide of $2.1 million.
“You can get a semi in Randwick for $2.5 million or a freestanding house in Malabar on 700sqm for about $2 million,” Mr Gorrie said. Despite the tough market, he’s getting 28 groups though the Reitz open house.
Catherine and Chris Reitz with kids Matilda and Marcus in their Malabar house. Picture: Sam Ruttyn