First-home buyers, “rentvestors” and lifestyle changers are driving strong growth in the Hunter Valley. Local agents say former blue-collar areas, predominantly reliant on the coal mining industry, are booming given their proximity to the Hunter Expressway, while first-home buyers are looking to Australia’s oldest wine region after being priced out of the Sydney market. Jurd’s Real Estate rural-lifestyle and commercial sales director, Cain Beckett, says value is the key driver of buyer and investor interest in the Hunter Valley. Beckett says most of their permanent tree changers were ex-Sydney residents cashing in on city properties and purchasing something in the Hunter for half the value. “They’re then using the money they’ve pocketed as a superannuation nest egg, to go on lots of holidays, or to get rid of any outstanding debt.”
The other big growth market, Beckett suggests, is the semi-permanent tree changer buying a rural or semi-rural house they can use three days a week, with a view to a permanent move down the track.
Beckett says city buyers love the Hunter’s slower pace of life and the fact it offers the chance to be part of a small community. “In Lovedale, there’s a street where for the past twenty years every house takes turns hosting drinks once a month. Within the first month of living in Talga Road, you know everyone else. It’s a belonging you simply don’t get in the city.”
Cessnock, Maitland and Muswellbrook experienced solid growth in the August quarter of between 5.1-8.6 per cent, according to Domain Group data scientist Nicola Powell, yet still offered affordable buying. In Cessnock, which saw robust 8.6 per cent price growth, the median house price is $352,000; Maitland offered a median house price of $441,500 with 5.1 per cent annual growth, while in Muswellbrook the average house would set you back $285,750 with 5.1 per cent annual growth.
With the median house price in Sydney reaching over $1 million, those priced out of the market are reassessing the quality of life they can offer their family, and areas like the Hunter Valley make sense. Powell says wherever there is government investment like the new expressway, it’s inevitable that investor interest follows. “The ability for people to work remotely and not physically be at a desk, particularly for those with family and young children, is definitely driving growth in areas like Newcastle, the Central Coast and the Hunter Valley. It’s all about quality of life, and a much lower price point.”
Troy White, licensee of the Hunter Valley Property Group, says they are seeing increasing numbers of buyers not only from Sydney and the Central Coast, but neighbouring Newcastle as well. He says the Hunter attracts a diverse mix of buyers, including the rising “rentvestor”, purchasing their first home as an investment property with plans to sell down the track and buy into the Sydney market.
“We’re also seeing a lot of families moving up from Sydney and making the Hunter Valley their home, with increasing numbers of people commuting or working remotely.” White says the Hunter Expressway, which opened in 2014, has made suburbs such as Kurri Kurri, Rothbury and even parts of Branxton far more accessible.
The Hunter Valley offers a fabulous lifestyle with world-class wineries on your doorstep, and Port Stephens and Newcastle’s beaches a short distance away. Most importantly however, it offers incredible value. “You can sell a small unit in Sydney and buy a beautiful lifestyle property with magnificent views not far from the vineyards, great restaurants and beaches,” says White.
He explains that large-sized properties are selling well, particularly those around the vineyard area. “Some of these acreages are only five minutes’ drive from a main commercial centre, which offers a local hospital, shopping centre and sporting grounds. A combination almost impossible to find in Sydney.”
POSTED: November 16, 2017
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