Jesmond's resident barber for nearly 40 years, Grant Conway knows the suburb better than most.
The shop where he started as an apprentice in 1983 is now called Grant's at Jesmond and he wouldn't want to work anywhere else.
"Maybe I've just got that used to it I wouldn't know what to do if I went anywhere else," Mr Conway said.
"People walk past my shop and I know everyone, everyone knows me. After nearly 40 years of people walking to the TAB next door or the pub across the road, horns are tooting as they drive past."
Much has changed in 40 years, including the growth of the university and the suburb's retail and shopping facilities.
Construction of a $450 million overpass, replacing the Jesmond roundabout, is expected to begin next year.
Mr Conway said the university had added a multicultural flavour to the suburb.
"Because English isn't their number one language, I'm cutting hair by photos on the phone and a bit of sign language," he said.
"It's a really diverse community here now. There's a few little shops opening up with food stalls from different cultures, there's a caravan that does Damascus food - the suburb's vibrant.
"I'm happy here, it's probably why I've been here so long."
Originally from the Central Coast, Cassie Turnbull bought into Jesmond in June.
She enjoys being close to the freeway, within an eight-minute drive from Hamilton, and her partner Brenton regularly cycles a half-hour commute to Hunter Street Mall.
"It was in our price range," Ms Turnbull said.
"For our first home we didn't want to go too extravagant and Jesmond is quite a central area with lots of pubs and cafes.
"It's close to the university and hospital so it's always going to be a good investment area."
Ms Turnbull said she had been surprised by how quiet and peaceful the suburb was.
"I thought it would be quite loud and busy being close to Newcastle Road, but actually there's a whole lot of wildlife," she said.
"We get a whole heap of birds fly over, lots of people walk past our house to the cafes and there's heaps of parks around so lots of people have dogs.
"I think there's a bit of a hangover stigma from 10 years ago where people wanted to live by the beach and weren't willing to live further out in places like Hamilton, Waratah and Mayfield, but those places are all booming now.
"I think it's a bit of an under-rated suburb."
Jesmond has a growing population of about 3000.
According to CoreLogic, 76 per cent of its population is younger than 50, and nearly 28 per cent is aged 20-29.
Two thirds of its residents are renting.
"It's a good area for investors - always has been," Reece Realty's Allen Reece said.
"The price ratio on what they pay to what their returns are [attracts investors]."
Median house prices have risen slightly less than the Newcastle average in the year to August, 14 per cent to 17 per cent respectively, but unit prices have enjoyed a huge 27 per cent spike.
Between January and August alone the median unit price jumped from $317,500 to $410,000.
Mr Reece said the recent price growth in Waratah and Lambton pointed to Jesmond being a growth area "in the next boom".
"Jesmond, Birmingham Gardens ... it's the first pocket you can still get into the market [outwards from Newcastle] at the $650,000 to $700,000 bracket.
"It's one of the most central suburbs to Newcastle.
"Ten, 15 minutes and you're in the city, at the beach, out at Fletcher, Maryland, Lake Macquarie, Maitland ... it's very central."
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Dowling Property's Steve Dorman agreed Jesmond was one of few affordable options close to the city for first home buyers.
"It is a great place for first home buyers to purchase and there's still property in that area that aligns itself with the first home owners grant," Mr Dorman said.
"In some of the other suburbs the $650,000 you get where you don't have to pay stamp duty - that's starting to shirk because a lot of the guys can't get property now at $650,000."
A two-dwelling property with five bedrooms at 29 Cameron Street is for sale with First National Newcastle City with a $730,000 guide.
Walkom Real Estate is guiding $825,000 for a modern three-bedroomer on 847 square metres at 22A Robert Street.
Mr Reece is marketing a two-bedroom unit at 6/1 Harvard Street with a guide of $370,000 to $400,000.
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