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Boom towns of the inner west

Redfern is among the "Fast 50" suburbs identified for growth.

Newtown and Marrickville have been named among 50 of Australia’s “boom” suburbs for investors in 2014. The “Fast 50” report, by Smart Property Investor magazine, asked experts to consider factors such as rental yields, population growth, employment opportunities and housing demand in nominating their top performers.

The magazine’s managing editor, Phillip Tarrant, said gentrification was the driving force behind these suburbs’ rise.

“It’s always been an area which has been attractive to the more alternative culture, but that’s really grown and evolved to attract more professional people,” he said.

Mr Tarrant said the diversity of housing available, from studio apartments to four-bedroom terraces, means young people don’t need to move to outer suburbs as they start a family.

“As people go through different life stages they can stay in the area and just get a bigger place.”

Also landing a place among Sydney’s hot spots was Redfern, which Mr Tarrant said was experiencing gentrification similar to that of Newtown.

“It’s probably 10 years behind in terms of the energy and pizazz of [King St], but you’re seeing the same fundamentals.”

Redfern’s median house price in 2005 was $547,000 – today it’s $960,000, and the local food scene has reflected that rapid shift in property value and demographics.

In 2013 ex-Aria chef Tim Bryan opened Three Williams. Described by the Intermedia Group as the “best cafe on what used to be the wrong side of the tracks”, Three Williams began as a gamble.

“We found the site about two years ago when it was being used as storage,” Mr Bryan explained.

Following his lead is former Claude’s head chef Ben Spears with Moon Park, and ex-Otto Ristorante head chef James Kidman, who is also considering Redfern as a possible location.

When asked if he believed if Sydneysiders are ready to associate fine dining with Redfern, Mr Kidman responded with a firm “yes”.

“I think they are, and I think it happened a while ago,” he said. “Sydney has become a city of villages and Redfern is now a part of the movement to reclaim the city.”

Testament to this urban shift are council initiatives such as the increase in bicycle lanes.

“You only have to look at how many people are out and about on bikes and walking through Prince Albert Park to see this,” Mr Kidman said.

“There are always risks opening your own place but I am confident that Redfern is not one of them. Redfern is ready.”

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