Located 160km north of Sydney’s CBD, the harbour city of Newcastle has so far escaped the astronomical prices that hit Sydney’s real estate market. However strong demand for housing, a diverse economy and infrastructure spending have combined to create a strong property market in the city which has seen steady capital growth and low vacancy rates for investors.
With a proud history as a former industrial heartland, Newcastle has been transforming into a vibrant coastal city, renowned for its lifestyle, and ever-increasing population growth.
Nowhere is this more evident than in Newcastle’s CBD, which runs along the mouth of the Hunter River and looks out towards one of Australia’s busiest ports.
The NSW Government has committed more than $650 million to its Revitalising Newcastle program. The program has transformed the city centre by improving transport, renewing public spaces, creating job opportunities and building affordable housing to cater to a growing population and tourism industry.
A key feature is the city’s new light rail which connects the city’s transport interchange with the harbour, CBD and beaches.
The city has seen many significant projects completed. These include:
- Newcastle Interchange – a new multi-modal transport interchange at Wickham in the city’s west
- Light rail between Newcastle Interchange and Newcastle Beach, reinvigorating Hunter and Scott Streets
- Road and footpath upgrades
- An overhauled bus and ferry service
- Renewed land dedicated to providing affordable housing, job opportunities, tourist attractions and public open space.
The Revitalising Newcastle program follows the opening of the $90 million Newcastle Courthouse development and NeW Space, a $95 million city campus for the University of Newcastle that prides itself on its innovative approach to education. The University of Newcastle has also announced plans to further expand its city campus on land earmarked near the harbour at Honeysuckle. The university is one of Newcastle’s biggest employers, and with student numbers projected to swell to 40,000 over the next decade, it will become one of Australia’s top three regional universities.
Not only do these projects indicate a growing confidence in Newcastle as a place to invest, they also signify a transition away from the traditional blue-collar sector to knowledge-based services (NeW Space focuses on law, business and creative industries). The impact this will have on the area’s demographics and income levels will be significant.
Newcastle City Council has reported it is regularly now processing more than $1 billion in DA’s each year as developers buy into the city’s growth story. This is underpinned by economic drivers which include a growing regional airport, defence spending at the RAAF Williamtown base, further expansion of the John Hunter Hospital campus which includes world leading medical research by HMRI. Newcastle Port remains the world’s biggest coal exporting port and is seeking to diversify into other bulky goods, fuels and a regional container terminal. The State Government has also committed to a passenger cruise liner terminal to boost tourism.
As well as transport improvements within Newcastle, travelling to and from Newcastle has also been made easier. The Hunter Expressway, which was completed in 2014, has reduced travel time between Newcastle and Sydney, and Newcastle and the Hunter region. And the Newcastle Inner City Bypass, which is only one stage away from being fully completed, will improve traffic flow across the western suburbs of Newcastle and connect key destinations such as Charlestown, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle University and the Pacific Highway.
Recent upgrades to Newcastle Airport, including terminal expansion and improved security and technology, mean that it’s a step closer to direct international flights. This has the potential to put Newcastle on the map as an emerging global city and be an additional incentive for regular business or leisure travellers to relocate from nearby areas.
Significant investment in infrastructure, urban renewal and innovation means that Newcastle represents a truly exciting investment opportunity.