The term north facing can be a little confusing. Unless you want the world looking into your living area you don't really want a north facing property. You want the long axis of your property to face north, this is usually the side. This way you can have a 2 room deep house with sun penetration into half the rooms. Personally I prefer the entry/street to be to the east, Councils expect you to have windows to the front of the house and east facing windows will be easier to control heat flow through than west facing windows. A solar passive house can be built on any block, this just makes it easier.
In an established area it is easy to see trees or buildings that will shade your northern sun or block the cooling sea breezes. Not so easy in a new area when you are building earlier than others. Ensure you will have adequate access to the winter sun to warm your house. Councils require an overshadowing diagram when you submit your plans, this ensures no body blocks all their neighbours sun but it has only been around a few years so existing building my not comply.
Most land has some slope, much more than you expect. A flat block is always more economical to build on, site works on a steep block can add up quickly and are not usually in the initial builders quote, they can easily destroy the budget. Given most blocks have some slope I suggest one that rises from the road. There are 2 main reasons for this, the first is drainage, all that water coming off your driveway and the road will end up in your garage and there is a flooding risk. The second is ascetics, there is a feeling of power and grandness that comes with walking up to an entry way rather than down.
Keeping in mind the ideal placement of windows is on the north side with smaller windows on the south and none on the east and west if possible, you really want your views to be to the north. Which is hard living in a city where most of the good views are to the west. If you do have western views consider an outdoor room rather than making your house unliveable for half the year. Impressive views aside make sure whatever is north is pleasant because you will be looking at it a lot. Landscaping can be used to pretty it up but be careful not to block that important winter sun.
All these things can be worked around and town planing often makes it impossible to have a perfect site but if you do have several blocks to choose from consider these points, especially the first one.