Newcastle October 2017

The month in review: Newcastle

By Herron Todd White
October 2017

Same, same, different.

Nothing has really changed in Newcastle property over the decades. We still have areas of growth and expansion getting piled high by homogenous housing stock with limited differentiating features or attributes. In the 1950s and 1960s it was red brick and tile 3-bedroom homes; now it’s brick/rendered and colourbond with 4-bedrooms, 2-bathrooms and built in double garages. The main difference is simply that the distance is further to the centre of town and all the good stuff.

Interestingly many of these 1950s and 1960s homes are either making way for newer, more modern infill housing or being extended and renovated to within an inch of their lives. One major difference is that today we want bigger, roomier, more spacious houses than those built by our parents and their parents. That’s quite a challenge on inner city infill housing when land sizes are constrained by surrounding properties.

A trend that is gathering pace is almost the complete opposite to the houses getting bigger. Land sizes in new estates are trending smaller. Whereas it used to be around 650 square metres or so for a standard residential lot, the size seems to have decreased to around 450 square metres and in some cases much smaller again. This seems to be on the back of investors who want minimal maintenance for prospective tenants. These parcels of land end up being mostly all house. The smaller sizes don’t seem to result in intrinsically lower prices and it appears as if the market has absorbed smaller lots without factoring in a price decrease. Developers get a higher yield from the same englobo land. That simply appears smart.

Infill housing always seems to trend smaller and more compact given the size constraints that cannot be overcome by spreading outwards. Upwards is almost the only option and occasionally downwards. Downwards is largely limited in and around Newcastle due to historic mine subsidence issues. Infill unit and townhouse developments are proliferating in inner city Newcastle and the densities seems to be increasing. The transition from large country town where everyone gets a block to call their own to modern high-density living started with furious pace in the early and middle parts of the new century and has really kicked on in the past five years. Less yard maintenance appears to be one of the factors at play.

Whereas the larger Australia cites and holiday hot spots such as the Gold Coast have embraced unit living for decades, Novocastrians have taken longer to get on board the bus. Once on that bus however, we have become enthusiastic patrons lounging around in the back seat having the time of our lives, yelling good natured banter to anyone within earshot like a little brother just stepping out from behind mum’s shadow, testing our boundaries – finding out what life is really all about. Like all cocky little siblings, we are probably due a clobbering or two in the future to keep us in check, but that should just result in a stronger more resilient being.

Chat with a Newcastle Mortgage Broker today.

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