What $650,000 (and just over) buys you in Sydney now

Obviously $650,000 is more than half a million; but as the threshold for first home-owners stamp duty exemption, in Sydney housing market-speak, this is entry-level coin.

Nevertheless with some savvy hunting you can still enjoy the world-envied Sydney lifestyle. As long as that car spot or second bedroom or backyard or sea breeze or 20-minute commute isn't a deal breaker for you, you're sitting pretty in one of Sydney's dream locations for about $650,000.

1. Who's who in Barangaroo???

187 Kent Street, Sydney NSW

187 Kent Street, Sydney NSW

What: Studio
Where:187 Kent Street, Sydney NSW
Price guide: $630,000-$660,000

Live like a jetsetter next to the city's flashiest precinct, Barangaroo, in this furnished 42-square-metre studio with a marble bathroom and large balcony overlooking the CBD. A stone's throw from the Harbour Bridge, The Rocks and Opera House in one direction and Darling Harbour in the other; you're a short walk from Barangaroo's world class restaurants and foreshore parks. This is your chance to keep your finger on the pulse in a big way, and the letting potential is off the charts.

2. Natural habitat in Hazelbrook

109 Mount View Avenue, Hazelbrook

109 Mount View Avenue, Hazelbrook

???What: Three-bedroom house
Where: 109 Mount View Avenue, Hazelbrook NSW
Price guide: $599,950

Fancy a Blue Mountains off-grid lifestyle? This 677-square-metre Hazelbrook property is completely self-sufficient, with stunning terraced gardens that back onto bushland for your morning hike to the waterfall. Intend on setting up a chook run, vegie garden, solar panels, composting and rainwater tanks? It's all done for you. The house itself boasts polished floorboards, gas, air con and three huge bedrooms plus a study or fourth bedroom. Hmmm, tempted to curl up on that back deck with a glass of red right now?

3. Robinson cruisey in Scotland Island

118 Thompson Street Scotland Island

118 Thompson Street, Scotland Island

What: Land and a shed
Where: 118 Thompson Street, Scotland Island
Price guide: $600,000

This 1300-square-metre block on the north side of Scotland Island is peaceful a slice of paradise - who'd believe you're still in Sydney? Bathed in light and bordered by parks and native reserve, the plot has road access to the island community, and its own jetty onto shimmering Pittwater. Accessed via the northern beaches ferry, water taxi or private boat; the property features a couple of readymade sheds to use as you build your architecturally designed dream house (DA approval in the works). Power, water and septic are already in place. Time for a seachange?

4. On point in Potts Point

49/1 Mcdonald, Potts Point NSW

49/1 Mcdonald, Potts Point NSW

What: One-bedroom unit
Where:49/1 Mcdonald, Potts Point NSW
Price guide: $650,000-$680,000

Its price range puts this apartment right at the limit (and potentially over) the first-home buyers threshold, but its location made it a must to include. A tranquil hideaway in the beating heart of Sydney's inner east, Potts Point, adjacent to Kings Cross, has quickly been gentrified as the spotlight shifts from clubs to its sensational restaurants and classy wine bars.

A block back from Woolloomooloo in strata title building Habitat, the unit has pool access, a leafy outlook and new kitchen, in case you ever decide to cook. Stroll up Macleay Street and grab a bite, see a show, sit by El Alamein Fountain, catch a train or have coffee on Victoria Street, and if you want to dance the night away you still can.

5. Retro gem in Brighton-Le-Sands

12/20 Crawford Road, Brighton-Le-Sands NSW

12/20 Crawford Road, Brighton-Le-Sands NSW

What: Two-bedroom unit
Where:12/20 Crawford Road, Brighton-Le-Sands
Price guide: $650,000-$680,000

This charming top floor unit has the lot - space and light, two balconies, two generous bedrooms, two bathrooms (one en suite) and a carpark.

Everything that cosmopolitan south-eastern village of Brighton-le-Sands can offer is within walking distance. Cruise two blocks down bustling Bay Street, with its Greek Australian cafe precinct, to the Grand Parade stretching along two kilometres of sandy beach on glassy Botany Bay. Great schools are in walking distance, and the airport and CBD are just 20 minutes away. Again, the price range puts it at the limit of the first-home buyers threshold, but with two bedrooms, two balconies and located less than a 30-minute car trip to the CBD it provides excellent value.

This story What $650,000 (and just over) buys you in Sydney now first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.