While Sydney’s property fortunes took a tumble this year, it was a different story across regional NSW. There were a handful of NSW regions that recorded strong growth, and some suggest the good times are set to continue.
Median house price: $392,500, up 8.13 per cent over the year
Home to almost 40,000 people, this city in the state’s Central West is just west of the Blue Mountains and has marketed itself so effectively as a hot food and wine destination for Sydneysiders looking for a weekend getaway that it has drawn keen interest from investors. Director of Century 21 Orange Andrew Vogler said it was no longer the well-kept secret it once was.
“It’s quite trendy. Going back 15 years ago it was just that cold place on the weather map, but now dozens of girls come up for wine weekends. A lot of investors say they would move to Orange if they could get the work,” said Mr Vogler.
He said the health sector was the biggest employer in town with a new private hospital to be added to the suite of services, attracting even more people to the area.
Mr Vogler said Orange had a very stable property market with strong rental yields and only one year of negative house prices in the past 15 years.
Recently sold: 4 Agland Crescent, Orange. This three-bedroom house sold earlier in December for $376,000.
Median house price: $440,000, up 7.32 per cent over the year
Investors are also making the most of affordable prices and strong rental demands in the neighbouring town of Bathurst, which is home to Charles Sturt University, a TAFE and a mine. Director of Raine & Horne Bathurst Michelle Mackay said they’re expecting more investors in the new year because of solid capital gains in 2018.
“The vacancy rate is less than two per cent, which is unusual at this time of year. The yields are quite good with investment …. we’re getting four to five per cent. First-home buyers have to sit back a bit [because of tighter credit], so investors are taking advantage a bit,” said Ms Mackay.
Bathurst also has a base hospital, which sees new doctors setting up shop in town, according to Ms Mackay.
“Doctors prefer to buy rather than rent if they’ve got the equity behind them and they’ll keep that as an investment until they’re ready to move on,” she said.
Recently sold: 219 Rocket St, Bathurst. This three-bedroom house is for sale for $399,000 and is within walking distance to the CBD, hospital and the university.
Median house price: $620,000, up 3.33 per cent over the year
With more than half a million people in this regional coastal city, demand is clearly rising with the median house price getting closer to Sydney’s every year. The upgrade of the light rail, the university and Honeysuckle development have been the main drivers of activity to the area.
“It’s a massive area, and if you look at houses on Bar Beach you have medians over a million dollars whereas suburbs further out will significantly pull back that median,” said Jason Maxwell, principal at Raine&Horne Newcastle.
He said house sales have performed strongly overall with a good range of stock for buyers to choose from.
“You’ve got another 12,000 students in those new combined campuses and the continual expansion of the Honeysuckle wharf has been an opportunity for investors.”
Recently sold: 16 George St, Tighes Hill. This three-bedroom house is just outside the CBD and sold for $645,000.
Median house price: $475,000, up 6.74 per cent over the year
The nearby mining town of Maitland has also made impressive house price gains this year with First National’s principal Michael Haggarty reporting that people see better value in the area in comparison to Newcastle.
“Places like Newcastle have become quite expensive, and people are seeing better value by moving an extra 20 to 30 minutes out of the city to get better quality houses for a lesser price,” said Mr Haggarty.
“Jobs are very steady in the area … Maitland is halfway between the mining industry and Newcastle city. People can work on the docks, mines or in a white-collar job in the city.”
Recently sold: 22 Rose St, Maitland. This three-bedroom house in the heart of town sold for $425,000.
Median house price: $355,500, up 8.72 per cent over the year
Like several other NSW regional cities, Wagga Wagga attracted plenty of buyers because it was a stable market that recorded strong returns, according to selling agent Ryan Smith of PRD Nationwide.
“We’re a transitional town with the RAAF base, the hospital, the university … the rent demand is still quite strong, that’s how we benefit the greatest amount and we also haven’t had too much of a downturn,” said Mr Smith.
He said local first-home buyers had been knocked around by tighter lending practices but sales kept ticking along.
Mr Smith predicted new residential land releases in Lloyd and Gobbagombalin would be the winners in 2019.
Recently sold: 33 Gormly Ave, Wagga Wagga. This two-bedroom Californian bungalow near the centre of town and sold for $407,000.
Median house price: $815,000, down 4.12 per cent over the year
It was one of the few regional markets that recorded a marginal decrease in house prices this year. That was promising for buyers hoping to get away from Sydney in the new year, according to The Agency’s Jason Betschwar.
“We’re experiencing a heavier volume of buyers coming from the Shire region. There’s definitely more value compared to what they’re experiencing up there and a lot of them are looking for that lifestyle change,” said Mr Betschwar.
He believed the suburbs Figtree and Fairy Meadow would be strong markets in 2019 because of their popularity among families who value being close to the CBD.
Recently sold: 27 Rowland Ave, Wollongong. This three-bedroom double brick sold for $722,000.
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