The month in review: Newcastle
By Herron Todd White
There is a common conversation at every weekend BBQ in the Newcastle region at the moment. Whether someone is looking to buy or sell or a neighbour is complaining about how many cars are parked in the usually quiet cul-de-sac for a Saturday open home, the discussion regarding the ever growing residential market is bound to be brought up. Speaking on behalf of valuers, who discuss all aspects of property market on the hour every hour, we are witnessing one of the strongest growth periods that Newcastle has ever experienced, across all price points with blue chip property auction properties having multiple competing bidders. This peak in the market has been a constant over the past 24 months now. With current low supply levels we see no early signs of flattening for the early part of 2017.
The CBD of Newcastle is an ever changing environment. With substantial infrastructure development, the changing image of a manufacturing town is creating an extremely diverse town offering inner city university, various businesses, ample residential unit development and tourism. A few major urban renewal projects either nearing completion or set in stone for the near future are the new court house, Newcastle Uni development, Hunter Street mall revitalisation and light rail system to open up the harbour and the CBD. The NSW government also introduced a new public transport system in December 2016, linking bus, ferry and light rail systems.
Given the above commentary on Newcastle CBD, affordable housing is being sought in all suburbs that still have a minimal commute to town. Cameron Park, Fletcher, Maryland and West Wallsend are providing newly built residences within 30 minutes drive of Newcastle CBD, with current median prices ranging between $520,000 and $700,000.
Port Stephens is a strong getaway destination for families and is enjoying sustained growth and increasing returns after many years of negative growth and over representation of mortgagee in possession sales. This area is now experiencing low supply levels for vacant land in particular, with more families looking to relocate for the lifestyle this area offers. We expect this growth to continue into 2017 however given this area is heavily reliant on tourism, should the bubble burst, there is higher volatility in such markets.
We have spent a fair while highlighting the Singleton situation over the past few years and we haven’t seen any signs that will change our commentary in the short term for 2017. Mines significantly scaled back investment in 2014 cutting jobs and costs, which trickled through to the entire economy in and around the town. There are a number of mines that have reopened or are planning expansion, with employment opportunities re-appearing. However this industry has not recovered and it will take well into 2017 before a stronger economy is reflected in house prices.