The New South Wales coast is one of Australia’s most coveted destinations, offering vast stretches of beach, gorgeous natural surroundings and great weather all year long. Of course, it’s not just holidaymakers who flock there for its beauty; smart investors are also getting in on the action. In recent years, Newcastle has become the postcode of choice for a broad and diverse range of property owners and investors.
Newcastle is home to more than 70,000 people making it one of Australia’s largest regional cities, as well as being one of the oldest and most populous in the country. Located just over 160 kilometres north of Sydney, the city and its surrounding area has a fascinating history and enjoys an idyllic location bordered by vast stretches of beach and sea, the Hunter River and lush national parks. The city is the largest within the world-renowned Hunter Valley wine region and, as such, serves as a gateway for tourism and wine operations in the local area.
Newcastle is historically an industrial city, with New South Wales’ first export being coal from Newcastle. Other industries also came and went such as copper, soap and steel, but coal has gone the distance and today the city is the largest coal exporting port in the world. This industrial heritage has cast somewhat of a shadow over Newcastle’s true potential, however, it has had a reinvention in recent decades, as major industrial operations have relocated further away from the central business and residential areas. Recognition of the city’s Hunter Valley wine region proximity, stunning historic architecture – including more than 2 dozen heritage-listed sites – and the natural assets of its stunning coastal location has put Newcastle firmly back on the tourist map.
The renewal of previously underutilised areas to create new precincts is at the heart of the transformation and will be taking place over the next decade or so. Honeysuckle is one such precinct – a reimagining of the industrial waterfront region with cafes, restaurants and open spaces, with spectacular views and plenty of opportunities for leisure and enjoyment. Along with this renewed focus on the city’s liveability, there has been a shift to encourage a more vibrant central business district by relocating the CBD slightly west, strengthening its commercial possibilities and breathing life into its cultural offerings. This results in the original CBD in Newcastle’s east becoming the historic quarter and the new CBD in the west becoming home to a variety of businesses and companies – the Newcastle city council for example is spending around $7 million this year relocating their office and staff to the new CBD.
This redesign of the city centre will, of course, result in a number of commercial vacancies in the short term. However, with many businesses vacating interesting buildings and in some cases, heritage-listed properties, the opportunity for new developments and tenancies such as boutique hotels, wine bars, cafes, restaurants, art galleries and creative spaces are plentiful. Of course, increasing liveability also necessitates growth in employment – and many companies are getting in on the ground floor of Newcastle’s renaissance. With a glut of unique vacant office buildings on the market, the focus is on development potential rather than sales return.
Hotel and apartment developments are also in progress, with urban planners factoring in population increases as commercial interests relocate or set up new branches locally. Apartment complexes are dominating the Newcastle skyline and things are still relatively affordable now to rent or to buy, with good growth predicted as the city begins to transform over the next few years. A decent chunk of current apartment sales are being made to Sydney buyers, either looking for a weekender or taking the plunge into a sea change. Similarly, the housing market offers a good variety of stock, depending on location. In addition, rents are in line with the quality of property – modern new developments on the waterfront are obviously commanding premium prices but further in, higher vacancy rates are offering a great market for renters.
Lower overheads in a thriving regional city that also offers a better quality of life – why wouldn’t you? As the cost of living in Sydney has become increasingly untenable for many, relocating to what would previously be considered a holiday destination is more attractive than ever to those wanting a better life and a better future. If you are interested in learning more about the Newcastle property scene, First National Real Estate Newcastle City can help. Our local agents can talk to you about what’s vacant in the rental market, what’s available to buy, and brief you on the local market as well as the exciting changes currently taking place in Newcastle. For all of your Hunter Region real estate needs, contact the friendly team at First National Real Estate Newcastle City.