It's a suburb that's had a stigma attached to it for many years - perhaps quite unlike any other in the Illawarra.
It's been a punchline for many long-time Illawarra residents who have likely never entertained the idea of buying a property there.
However, for out-of-area home buyers in particular, Warrawong has become an increasingly appealing option.
"Come down and look at the views - you might change your mind," resident Louise Shaw said.
For some time, the southern Illawarra suburb, while a popular shopping destination, has experienced a negative reputation among many, due to its lower socio-economic status and abundance of social housing.
However, the Shaws said they saw plenty of benefits to buying there.
Mrs Shaw, 35, a registered nurse, and husband Steven, an electrician, bought a home on Second Avenue North in October, and moved in during January.
They've since had their first child, Grace.
Mrs Shaw was from the Coffs Harbour area, while her husband was from England.
The couple had been renting in Corrimal for four years, but were looking at options throughout the Illawarra for their first home purchase.
They had investigated suburbs such as Lake Heights, but Mrs Shaw said prices were what appealed to them about Warrawong.
"We had a bit of postcode snobbery for Warrawong," she said.
"But the views were just... We were living in Corrimal, and we just knew we were never going to afford there, and get a view and be close to the water, close to the lake, and have plenty of space.
"We knew we needed to broaden our horizons. My husband took some convincing (about Warrawong), but we could afford it. I said, 'let's go for it, and worst case, we can always go back to Corrimal'.
"But since we've moved here, we love it and we don't want to go back to Corrimal."
Mrs Shaw said they bought a well-built 1940s cottage, which just required a little work. The couple has renovated their bathroom and done some painting in the kitchen.
She acknowledged the suburb's past reputation, but said the likes of Port Kembla and Corrimal had also experienced a negative perception in the past before growing rapidly in popularity in recent times.
She said although Illawarra residents may not consider Warrawong, out-of-area buyers recognised the value.
"I don't think locals are keen, because they know the area and the reputation.
"But if you're outside the area and you don't know Warrawong... I think it's a lot of younger couples like us, many of them from Sydney, who can't afford places like the northern suburbs, and can work from home now. They're moving in and changing the area.
"We've got a two-bedroom house on the hill, on a nice street, and we've not had any trouble here. It's so multicultural; all the older European families on our street are just so lovely and welcoming."
Ian Hyslop is owner-operator of the Gala Twin Cinema in Warrawong, and has worked in cinemas in the suburb for 30 years.
Mr Hyslop said he felt Warrawong had been stagnant for a number of years, largely due to downturn in some businesses, but nowadays offered plenty of potential.
This included opportunities for first home buyers, and some older homes being suitable for knockdown-rebuild.
"When you look at the size of a block of land... They're great big blocks.
"I think there's a lot of potential for the area in the next ten to 15 years. You've got great views of the lake."
According to CoreLogic, the median sales price of houses in the area is $595,000.
The median sales price was $512,000 in June 2020, compared to $595,000 a year later. The median price has increased by 42.6 per cent during the past five years.
The median days on market for houses in the suburb is 32 days.
Rachael Griffin from Brailey First National said Warrawong had its detractors, especially locally.
However, she said many out-of-area buyers were able to judge the suburb on its own merits, without any preconceived notions.
"Up until 12 or 18 months ago it hadn't really hit a boom, but it has had a bit of a boom in the past year," she said.
"It's the next logical step down the coast from Wollongong, and it's still very close to the lake. A lot of the streets have views of the lake and the ocean.
"It's a short drive to Wollongong and transport there if you want to commute to Sydney."
She felt the perception of Warrawong was shifting, as it grew in popularity among first home buyers and investors.
"Some people, I say to them, 'you should check out this one I've got for sale in Warrawong', when they're potentially looking at Unanderra or Farmborough Heights. Some will just say, 'no, I'm not interested in Warrawong'.
"Some still attach a stigma to Warrawong."
Steve Mancini from The Professionals Wollongong said Warrawong was attracting a range of potential buyers, including first home buyers who had grown up in the Illawarra, and "out-of-towners with a limited budget".
He said some Illawarra residents would likely always view Warrawong in a negative fashion, and "you're not going to be able to change their perspective".
"But when you're talking about value for money from out-of-town buyers - we're talking ten minutes away from Wollongong CBD - it's definitely a value-packed suburb.
"The location, the proximity to water, the proximity to Wollongong CBD.
"People want value housing, and right now, Warrawong is a good option."
Adele Harb from Adele's Real Estate Shellharbour said Warrawong was appealing to first home buyers and investors.
"One of the biggest benefits is it's 10 to 15 minutes from both Wollongong and Shellharbour," he said.
Recent sales in the suburb include 92 Flagstaff Road for $810,111; 41 Bent Street for $610,000; and 56 Jane Avenue for $747,500.
Mrs Griffin is the selling agent for 25 Second Avenue North.
Set on 619 square metres, the home has a price range of $720,000 to $760,000.
She said it was a well-maintained, two to three-bedroom home, with water views from the back deck.
"It's got a great big Colourbond shed, so it's suitable for tradies or anyone doing work from home."
Mrs Griffin said it was attracting a mix of interest from local and Sydney parties, and mostly first home buyers.
Mr Mancini is the selling agent for 278 Cowper Street, Warrawong.
It has a price guide of $1,200,000.
The mixed use development building offers a ground floor commercial tenancy (currently the home of Nam Phuong Asian Grocery) and a three-bedroom unit on the first floor.
The unit is currently leased for $330 per week and the commercial shop is rented for $53,053 per annum.
Mr Mancini said the interest in the listing was predominantly from out-of-area investors.
Read more: Property Suburb in the Spotlight: Oak Flats
Mr Harb is the selling agent for 5/314 Cowper Street.
The two-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse has a price guide of $549,000 to $599,000, and is currently under offer.
He said the interest in the property was mainly from first home buyers.
"It's detached, it's elevated on top of the hill, it's got views of the ocean, and it's spacious," he said.