Local Economy

The most recent ABS Australian Business Register of Willoughby City registered over 30,000 business entities in 2011. Most businesses recorded an annual turnover between $100,000 and $1 million, while more than 1,200 businesses recorded annual turnover of over $1 million.

Commercial and retail floor space

  • Commercial floor space: 305,000 sqm
  • Retail floor space: 190,000 sqm
  • Average Net Rent for Commercial Space: $333/sqm

Rentals on the Victoria Avenue shopping strip vary significantly depending on size, location and shop frontage but are often between $1,800 and $2,200 per square metre.

Retail Spending

Based on the 2001 Census population data and 2021 projections, Willoughby retail expenditure totalled $671 million in 2001, with a projected total expenditure in 2021 of $977.5 million in the retail sector.

At June 2006 the residential population in the trade area covering the Chatswood CBD was estimated to be close to 430,000. The majority of people shopping in the area have larger than average annual incomes in comparison to the Sydney statistical division. The total trade area retail spending is estimated at $5.26 billion in 2006 and this is expected to grow thanks to the continuing population growth. (Chatswood Chase Economic Impact Assessment, Urbis JHD 2007).

Chatswood has a number of retail centres including Chatswood Chase, Westfield Chatswood, Mandarin Centre and Lemon Grove together with a multitude of specialty centres, arcades and numerous single shops. During 2011 The Concourse and Metro Chatswood precincts will open for trade.

Weekly Income

An analysis of the household income levels in 2006 for Willoughby City relative to the Sydney Statistical Division showed a greater proportion of high income households and a lesser share at the low income end. The greatest differences in weekly household incomes between Willoughby City and the Sydney Statistical Division included a greater proportion of households earning $2,000 or more, a greater percentage of households earning $1,500 to $1,999 and a lesser share of households earning $300 to $399.

Labour Force Participation

In Willoughby in 2006:

  • 32,984 people
  • 65.3% employed full time
  • 29.2% employed part time
  • 2% employed with work capacity not stated

Willoughby's most popular occupations are Professionals (11,956 persons or 37.6%), Managers (5,947 persons or 18.7%) and Clerical and Administrative Workers (4,762 persons or 15.0%).

Employment by Industry

The majority of our workforce fall into the industry category of Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (5,621 persons or 17.7%) followed by Financial and Insurance Services (3,607 persons or 11.3%) and Health Care and Social Assistance (3,037 persons or 9.6%)


Willoughby is one of seven local government areas that make up the Northern Sydney Region of Councils (NSROC). The region’s estimated Gross Regional Product (GRP) is estimated to be around $41million. This is 16% of Sydney’s GRP, 11% of NSW’s GSP and 4% of the GDP. Willoughby City’s GRP is $70,000 per capita, higher than NSROC’s $61,000 per capita, Sydney’s $52,000 and NSW’s $44,000 per capita.

NSROC’s Economy Profile has further information.

Major Projects

The Concourse

ABC Gore-Hill Site
The former ABC site at Gore Hill, Artarmon is currently being developed as a high-tech industrial park, providing for the continuing growth in the area particularly for multi-media and associated high-tech industries as well as an indoor sports centre to be owned and operated by Council.

Artarmon Industrial
Willoughby City Council has initiated changes to the planning controls for the industrial area in Artarmon to increase the floor space ratio, relax controls on usage and encourage high-technology type industries. This project is an exciting opportunity that will cement Artarmon, and Willoughby City, as a future hub for technology and innovation.