Towns and rural villages within an hour’s drive of Newcastle present first-home buyers and investors with many opportunities to acquire property priced under $300,000, though in some cases, employment, shopping and transport options may be limited.
Valuers Herron Todd White pick Cessnock, the fringe suburbs of Lake Macquarie and range of small rural towns to the north, south and west of Newcastle, where houses can be picked up below this benchmark.
“At Cessnock in the west, very basic and dated housing can be acquired for $150,000 to $200,000 as well as in fringe villages like Aberdare and Millfield.
“Further west in the town of Singleton, the coal mining boom is impacting on housing, seeing basic prices again rising to the $250,000 to $300,000 range.
“Singleton can further expect to benefit from the M15 expressway due to open in September 2013 making the region more accessible,” says HTW.
Outer-suburb buyers are being spurred on due to a tight rental market in Newcastle with the Real Estate Institute of NSW reported a 1.6% vacancy rate in October.
The median price of a Newcastle house is $655,000 and $430,000 for units, according to RP Data with BIS Shrapnel tipping strong capital growth of around 6% per annum over the next two years.
Apart from being Australia’s sixth biggest city with a population of 550,000, Newcastle is also a beneficiary of coal mining investment activity and is well connected to Sydney plane, train and by car via the Newcastle Freeway and the Pacific Highway.
Herron Todd White notes that affordable houses are “typically in areas with limited employment opportunities, shopping, education, and public transport.
“The typical purchaser of affordable housing is quite varied and includes a wide range of owner-occupiers, first home buyers and investors.
“In the current economic climate we are finding the most remote of locations experiencing greater sales periods than their more centralised counterparts.
South of Newcastle, first-home buyer and investor opportunities can be found on the southern fringes of Lake Macquarie, with cheaper housing is priced from around $250,000 to $300,000 in areas such as Doyalson and Wyee.
“Similar pricing occurs in the small villages near the Pacific Highway like Morisset, Dora Creek and Awaba.
Buyers with a penchant for rural living might consider the more remote areas of the upper north and north-west, around towns such Dungog, Stroud, Gloucester and Buladelah, suggests HTW, with houses priced from as low as $150,000 to $200,000, but where “services and facilities are more limited”.
“Finally in the coastal areas of the north-east, lower end property around Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens can be acquired for around $250,000 to $300,000.
“Just to the south around Nelson Bay, older houses can sell for as low as $300,000.
“Over the last few years these coastal areas have experienced a significantly weakened market with the typical purchaser – an investor or holiday house purchaser having departed the market and sales periods have noticeably increased,” says HTW.
For Terry Ryder's outlook on the state of the regions sign up for the free webinar on Thursday, December 6 at 12.30pm on Regions versus capital cities - where to invest in 2013?