The Ponds—a new suburb located 40 kilometres from Sydney’s central business district—was little more than rough bushland, sparse trees, and an old creek a decade ago. However, all that changed when a masterfully planned community was unveiled in 2007. Today, the median house price in The Ponds is inching close to $1 million.

The Pond’s quick ascent is rather surprising to some onlookers. The surrounding area lacks a train station, government services, and cultural amenities. The suburb is also situated in the Blacktown local government area, a place known for its high unemployment, poverty, and homelessness.

These apparent setbacks haven’t deterred homebuyers and investors, and the suburb now records a median house price of $985,000. In this year’s September quarter, it enjoyed a rise of 6.3%.

“It’s quite remarkable, given that it’s on the fringes of the city,” observed Dr. Andrew Wilson, Domain Group’s chief economist. “It’s an area of new properties and – while I don’t like the term – McMansions, but there’s certainly strong demand out there. It won’t be long before it hits $1 million.”

The Ponds is designed by UrbanGrowth NSW (the state’s urban transformation agency) and Frasers Property. The community now has more than 12,400 residents and is one of the fastest-growing suburbs in Australia. 

One of the highest prices ever paid for a home in The Ponds was $2,706,000—placing it squarely in prestige property market territory. Chris Johnson, chief executive officer of Urban Taskforce Australia, says The Ponds’ success is an indication of Sydney’s maturing property market. More people are happy to live far from the features that distinguish “brand Sydney”: the harbor, the Opera House, and the bridge.

“It shows that water and a country landscape and nature [are] just as important to many people as inner-city living,” Johnson said. “We can translate how many of us see Sydney [in] a much more suburban setting.”