Last Updated Apr 5, 2017 · Written by Hannah Fester
With the cost of property in Sydney pricing most people out of the market, the boom has started to spread to regional areas outside Sydney. Head 2 hours north and you’ll find Australia’s next big boom town. Newcastle NSW is perfect for buying and renovating with weatherboard style properties and a median price of $440,000. But apart from the cost of property, what’s all the buzz about Newcastle real estate and where should you look for investment?
Newcastle’s real estate has grown significantly since the location’s rise in popularity over the past few decades. Newcastle NSW has evolved; from a town known predominately for its exportation of coal in the 18th century, to a thriving cultural hub for those who want the cosmopolitan feel of a big city without the unwavering energy inherent in metropolitan areas.
Newcastle was founded by the working-class, and was developed as a blue-collar town. Newcastle’s history has been progressive though; fast forward a few centuries and the Newcastle of today is now a recognisable spot on the map for its pristine beaches, dependable weather and relaxed vibe. Newcastle NSW has retained its traditional roots, with coal still a major import and export from Kooragang Island, but now also embodies the culture, buzz, and excitement of a big-small-town.
You’d be hard pressed to find a beach in Newcastle that you didn’t like, with picturesque beaches that stretch from Blacksmiths to Nobby’s Head. Naturally, living by the beach is the location of choice for many Novocastrians. Newcastle epitomises urban sprawl because of its magnetic coastline; housing in areas such as Merewether, Cooks Hill and The Hill are hot property for Newcastle real estate. The cost of living in these areas is a direct correlation to the unrivaled views with which you’re presented. For instance, the average cost of a home in Merewether is over $1,130,000 and nearly $1,000,000 in Cooks Hill. Houses in these areas have modernised overtime, with a slow but sure transition from older, weatherboard, single-story homes, to brick rendered, contemporary two-story dwellings.
If it’s the food-coffee-drinking scene you’re after, Darby Street and Beaumont Street are the the places of choice. Darby Street, located in Cooks Hill, is the hip-happening stretch of road that takes you from The (trendy) Junction to Newcastle’s evolving CBD. You’re spoilt for choice along Darby Street; from quaint cafes, to boutique clothing stores, to bespoke florists. Further from the central business district is Beaumont Street. Located in the contemporary area of Hamilton, Beaumont Street mirrors the offerings on Darby Street. Although the beach isn’t a stone’s throw away, Hamilton has grown exponentially in popularity since the rise of the coffee culture in the area and surrounding neighbourhoods. Cooks Hill, Newcastle West, Hamilton and Islington are budding Newcastle real estate locations for those wanting to live in a culture club.
Ironically though, all these locales have become attractive only in the last few decades. During the 1970s and and the decade thereafter, the social scene was quite different to the one everpresent now. They were infamous spots known for their low socioeconomic status and high rates of petty crime. The once gloomy looking brick terraces have since been restored to reflect the look of art-deco townhouses, rapidly increasing the area’s real estate value over time.
Away from the metropolitan and beachy areas of Newcastle NSW are the suburbs, where Newcastle real estate is cheaper, homes are bigger, and a front and back yard are a common feature to many properties. Areas such as Kotara, New Lambton, and Mayfield are ideal spots for young families wanting more bang for their buck. The average cost of homes in these areas range from $500,000 to $630,000, which gives prospective buyers a modest, three to four bedroom property. Kotara is home to the newly improved Westfield shopping centre. Recently renovated, the shopping complex is equipped with movie theatres, a Woolworths & Coles, as well as a rooftop terrace, housing some of the best family-friendly restaurants. The centre has all the perks of a big-city Westfield, minus the congestion. Better still, Kotara and the surrounding suburbs are only a 10 minute drive from some of the top beaches Australia has to offer.
Areas ideal for renovating in Newcastle include; Mayfield, Wickham and Belmont North. The median cost of housing in these areas is approximately $400,000, which gives homeowners a modest several-bedroom property. The locations themselves are optimal as they are just on the cusp of the busier parts of town. Mayfield, for instance, is less than a 10 minute drive from both Darby & Beaumont Street, the Newcastle CBD, and all of Newcastle’s northern beaches. Once an industrial, blue-collar suburb, Mayfield is now one of the most popular suburbs for first-home buyers because of the lower cost of housing. It’s also the location of choice for those who are keen to sink their teeth into an older home that’s desperate for a renovation.
Newcastle’s CBD and the surrounding beach areas are troves for youths. The laissez faire culture that has popped in areas such as Merewether, Cooks Hill, The Hill, The Junction & Newcastle East attracts a younger generation. Ironically though, these spots are the busiest parts of town because of the popular likening toward a low-key lifestyle. During the summer, youths swarm to the parameters of these areas, getting as close to the beach as possible.
Familiar pods in Newcastle have been built over time, mainly in areas that have a lower cost of living and an increased size of property. Families should look at suburbs that are central to all their places of need; schools, shopping centres, movie theatres, beaches. Locations such as Charlestown, Kotara, Floraville and New Lambton are areas that encompass, or are at least in close proximity to, the family fundamentals. Homes are typically larger for growing families, with backyards ideal for children.
Newcastle NSW is as popular for families and youths alike, as it is for retirees. A common hub for migrating Sydneysiders, Newcastle offers the Baby Boomer generation a place to unwind and prepare for retirement. Popular areas for retirees, and even prospective retirees, are Belmont, Valentine, and Warners Bay. Hugging Lake Macquarie, these areas are ripe spots for pensioners; the properties are fairly priced, there are plenty of cafes, restaurants and local shops, and there is a wheelchair-friendly path that stretches from one side of the lake to the other. Alternatively, there are retirement villages the elderly can choose to settle into in these areas, should unassisted living not be an option.
Newcastle NSW is located approximately two hours north of Sydney, at the mouth of the Hunter River. Reinventing itself as a hub full of potential for both current locals and future residents, Newcastle real estate is a market to keep your eye on. It comes as no surprise why Newcastle is the second most populated area in New South Wales. Historic, diverse, cultural yet relaxed, it has all the makings of a perfect big-small town.