The property choices Australians make are increasingly driven by lifestyle. For example, in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, it is not uncommon to see a premium being paid for properties that are a short walk to the beach versus those that are a few suburbs away from the water.

On the Upper North Shore, family buyers are likely to pay more to be within a particular school catchment area or within walking distance to the train station for a quick commute to work.

And with our burgeoning café culture, pretty much everyone wants to be able to walk to local eateries where they can catch up with friends or enjoy some time to themselves over a great cappuccino.

While affordability will always be a factor in our property decisions, lifestyle is the fundamental key in our marketplace today. One of the strongest trends right now is the desire for the ‘café lifestyle’.

Time-poor Australians are spending more and more time in cafes. They’re our favourite place for catch-ups with friends, casual business meetings or simply some time to ourselves over a great cappuccino. We love the buzzy atmosphere and eclectic styles of our local cafes, we enjoy getting to know the owners and soon enough we have a “usual” order at one or two favourite spots.

There’s even statistics proving how much we love our growing coffee scene. A recent article in The Daily Telegraph quoted research from Roy Morgan that shows since 2008, Australians have recorded an extra 10 million visits to cafes during any given three-month period, up 25 per cent!

Leading the trend are the over 65s, who are visiting cafes almost twice as much as in 2008, and the under 25s who have increased their visits from four million to almost six million per three months. 

Given the strength of this trend, it’s no wonder that properties within walking distance of the local café village are increasingly on buyers’ ‘must have’ lists.  I think this is particularly so among buyers living on their own in smaller properties. Living alone is a growing trend in Australia and the opportunity to stroll up the road to visit their favourite café for a coffee or a meal is particularly important to them.

In our Sydney and Brisbane McGrath Market Reports, we highlighted both cities’ emerging network of café villages. Some of the best and most sought-after by buyers are listed here:


  • Lane Cove
  • Elizabeth Bay/Potts Point
  • Mosman/Neutral Bay
  • Manly
  • Bondi Beach
  • Paddington/Woollahra
  • Surry Hills/Redfern
  • Newtown/Erskineville
  • Leichhardt/Annandale


  • The Valley
  • Kelvin Grove
  • Ascot & Hamilton
  • New Farm
  • Bulimba & Bayside
  • South Bank
  • West End
  • Toowong/St Lucia/Chapel Hill
  • Paddington/Rosalie/Milton

The best thing about the café lifestyle is that it’s so accessible. Compare it to ultimate Australian dream of living close to the beach. Many of us would like to have that but not all of us can afford it and it’s also not practical for people working in the middle to outer suburbs of our cities. But you can find the café lifestyle anywhere because these days there’s a café village in almost every suburb.

If the café lifestyle is important to you, have a look at McGrath’s Lifestyle Property Search on our website which enables you to search for properties that are ‘Surrounded by lots of cafes and restaurants’.

The whole point of the Lifestyle Search is to enable buyers to search for properties not by area but by lifestyle amenities. We’ve found that buyers are increasingly open to new areas of their city as long as they offer the same lifestyle they currently enjoy.

Our Lifestyle Search offers many other options, such as ‘Short walk to the beach’; ‘Near a train station’; ‘Single level house’; ‘Waterfront’ and ‘Over 55s’. Check it out at