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Change of scenery for “Great Australian Dream”

The Lower Hunter Region is expected to be an increasingly important pressure release valve for consumers priced out of the Sydney housing market, keeping the “Great Australian Dream” alive for the many families.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ annual Regional Internal Migration report shows that many buyers are abandoning Sydney in favour of regional NSW, with Newcastle experiencing significant population gains.

Popular areas, including Parramatta and the Inner West, recorded a combined net migration loss of 16, 464 people. While the greater Newcastle area is now the second most populated area in the state, with a population of more than 300,000 people, and a median house price of just over $500,000.

Maitland is one of the fastest growing areas in Australia, with a growth rate consistently above 2.5% per annum.

According to research by AVID Property Group, developer of Harvest estate, just outside of Maitland, local land prices offer a 101% discount on current metropolitan pricing across Sydney*.

AVID’s research also shows there is no sign yet of affordability issues causing a trend to smaller lot house sales. Almost three quarters of sales in the final quarter of 2016 were 550m² blocks.

AVID’s NSW Project Director Nathan Huon said the relatively stable land prices over the last two years look set to change.

“There was a 1.5% average lot price increase in the Lower Hunter last year and a rise in sales over the last two quarters of 2016 – show a firming of demand,” Mr Huon said.

“With Sydney’s median house prices passing $1 million, it is clear why people are leaving the city in significant numbers, and choosing instead to live in regional areas within NSW.

“They can replace a crippling city mortgage with a village lifestyle and easy access to the amenities and services of a regional hub.”

The wide range of lifestyle options was another significant drawcard, Mr Huon said.

“At Harvest, the median lot price is under $233,000, with lot sizes ranging from 525m² to 2,125m², catering to the needs of everyone from first home owners and downsizers to growing families.

*“Executive Summary and Research – Lower Hunter Region”, 15 February, 2017, Charter Keck Cramer / Research 4

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