My experiences here are now well and truly out of date!
We ended up using Bull, Son & Schmidt in St Leonards. There are cheaper conveyancers, but we wanted to find a good solicitor for other purposes as well.
"On average, approximately 6 per cent of the dwelling stock is turned over in any given year."
"Holding other things equal, a 1 per cent increase in land size corresponds to a 0.28 per cent price increase in Sydney, a 0.19 per cent increase in Melbourne and a 0.39 per cent increase in Brisbane."
We were looking along the train line between North Sydney and Chatswood, for something within ten minutes walk of a station. One tradeoff was between a quiet, green location and easy access to station and shops; another was between attractive period appearance/features and modern layouts with open kitchens and dining and living areas. Artarmon and Naremburn were our preferred suburbs.
The most comprehensive online property listing site in this area is Domain. This is an annoying site with lots of ads and some usability problems, but it's where everything gets listed.
Gil Davis Home Traders handles around three quarters of house sales in Artarmon and also covers Naremburn, Willoughby, and Chatswood. Their web site provides useful information about those suburbs, includings lists of previous house sales. Gil Davis himself seems to be a rare example of a competent and trustworthy real estate agent.