Oct 12, 2016

The pros and cons of WestConnex for Sydney property

The WestConnex motorway is the largest infrastructure project of its kind in Sydney since the construction of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge in the 1930s.

The project, often described as the “missing link” in Sydney’s road network, commenced in March 2015 and is due for completion in 2023.

Proponents of the project argue that WestConnex will make it quicker and simpler to drive across parts of Sydney, especially for residents in outer suburbs.

For instance, it is claimed that road capacity will be doubled on a trip from Campbelltown to the airport, while a commuter driving from Parramatta to the city will enjoy 52 fewer sets of traffic lights.

Those in favour of WestConnex also argue that, once finished, it will drastically ease congestion on local roads as vehicles are redirected from neighbourhood streets onto the motorway.

However, there remains opposition to the project, especially from those impacted by the state government’s move to acquire compulsorily around 200 homes, primarily in the inner-west.

Implications for property valuations

Real estate agent, Dib Chidiac, of Raine and Horne Concord, is upbeat about the outlook for house prices in areas close to WestConnex.

In Concord, Chidiac believes WestConnex will lift local real estate values by reducing traffic congestion in and around the entrance to the M4.

He says while there may be some downside risk for properties abutting the motorway, the value of many residences in his area is likely to increase.

WestConnex will also act as a powerful drawcard, he says, for many CBD-based professionals looking to relocate or invest, but who have previously considered some outer Sydney suburbs to be too far from the CBD.

“We’re selling properties at great prices and I don’t see any reason why that won’t continue,” Chidiac tells Legacy Property.

“With WestConnex, it will take cars off Parramatta Road, get traffic off local streets, and improve travel time to the CBD.”

Richardson & Wrench Marrickville principal Aris Dendrinos is less bullish, but says opportunities abound for astute investors.

“There will definitely be an initial period of loss or negative growth as West Connex goes through its slow and painful process of construction,” he writes on his blog.

“Only the shrewdest of shrewd investors will get in first, speculating that once in operation these precincts will be more in demand rather than less.

“With the inner west already well known as an attractive place to live, the arrival of yet another convenient transport option … will only boost prices further.”

At a glance – WestConnex

The $16.8 billion project comprises a 33-kilometre motorway that will be built in three stages over the next decade. It will connect the M4 and the M5 East and improve access for those driving to the city, Sydney Airport and Port Botany.

Stage one of the project, currently underway, sees construction take place from Parramatta to Haberfield to widen a section of the existing M4 motorway.

Stage two, slated to commence in late 2016, will connect the existing M5 motorway to a newly built interchange at St Peters via two tunnels.

Stage three will complete the project by connecting stages one and two, linking the extended M4 at Haberfield to the extended M5 at St Peters.

The multi-billion dollar project will require tolling in order to be financially viable, with commuters set to pay more or less depending on how far they travel. The cost of a journey on WestConnex will be capped at $7.95, the NSW Government has previously said.