A growing desire to escape the rat race has pegged regions in the Hunter Valley as the ideal location for Sydneysiders planning retirement and seeking more value for money.

The population of New South Wales regions has increased in recent years due to the shift of people from Australia’s capital cities, with Sydney experiencing one of the greatest net losses of population to its regions(1).

The Hunter region has become increasingly attractive to those entering retirement, with the pre-retirement age group being one of the largest contributors to its population growth, according to the most current Australian census data(2).

Sydneysiders Frances Little, 59, and Eva Giambio, 57, have recently purchased a block of land at Waterford by AVID Property Group (AVID) in Chisholm, part of the East Maitland region, to make the most of affordable house prices and the lifestyle that comes with it.

“For us it was about finding an area that we felt comfortable in and that had the services and amenities we know we will need as we get older,” Ms Little said.

“We were looking for access to medical services and hospitals, easy access to Sydney, community, lifestyle and affordability with the last six to seven years of our working lives approaching.

“In terms of affordability, Sydney is excessively overpriced and to have a new house on a good size block of land has you commuting for hours each day.

“We visited the Waterford community in Chisholm and as soon as we stepped out of the car and looked across the valley there was that instant feeling of ‘this is home’.

“We are very much looking forward to having that slower pace of life compared to Sydney in a brand new home that has everything we want in it.

“We’re very excited to start out next chapter at Waterford and become part of the East Maitland community.”

House prices in the region are comparably low to Sydney, which have reached prices in excess of $1.4 million(3), while East Maitland has a median price of $600,000(4).

AVID Project Director New South Wales Nathan Huon said affordability was a huge driver when it came to Sydneysiders leaving the city.

“When we consider how much our New South Wales regions are booming, it really comes down to value for money,” Mr Huon said.

“What we’re hearing on the ground from people in this demographic is that they want a slower pace of life; they want a strong sense of community around them and to prioritise their lifestyle.

“Our Waterford population has continued to grow from strength to strength, highlighting to us that the lifestyle and economic benefits on offer are very appealing − people want to be here, and they can afford to be here.

“They love that they can get all of that on a realistic budget in suburbs like East Maitland in the Hunter region which is known for its lifestyle opportunities and beautiful scenery.”


1 Regional Australia Institute, 2020, The Big Movers: Understanding Population Mobility in Regional Australia, p.16
2 Hunter Joint Organisation of Councils, A growth agenda for the Hunter: Drivers of Population Growth, p.9
3 Domain, 2021, Sydney house prices reach record median $1,410,133 – rising almost $1200 a day in just three months
4 Realestate.com.au, 2021, East Maitland 2323 NSW

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