Prospective homebuyers in the Hunter region should look no further than Cessnock and its surrounding suburbs, a local real estate agent says.
In response to media reports that Newcastle buyers are being “priced out of the market”, LJ Hooker Cessnock and Kurri Kurri principal Bryce Gibson said the ownership dream was still very much a reality in areas such as Cessnock, Aberdare, Kurri Kurri and Weston – where the median sales prices are in the range of $275,000 to $305,000.
“Sure we all would love to live on the water or be seconds form the beach, but property buyers who cannot afford these areas need to consider the ‘stepping stone’ to help them realise their property dreams,” Mr Gibson said.
Mr Gibson said the construction of the Hunter Expressway had well and truly put to rest any concerns from buyers that travelling to work in Newcastle from the Cessnock area was impractical.
“Travelling from the Cessnock-Kurri Kurri area has never been more efficient, either into Newcastle city or down the M1 to Sydney or the Central Coast,” he said.
Mr Gibson said the greater Cessnock region’s proximity to the Hunter Valley vineyards was also a drawcard.
“Name another location in this great country where you can regularly buy a decent home under $300,000 and be located less than 15 minutes’ drive to three championship-quality golf courses, some of the world’s best wineries and not to forget some of the world’s best artists playing right before your eyes,” he said.
And the market is on the move – Weston’s median sale price grew 16.5 percent in 2016 (but is still under $300,000) and Aberdare’s median price went up 10.1 percent last year but remains affordable at $275,250.
Mr Gibson said Weston has found itself in a “geographical Goldilocks zone” with the construction of the Hunter Expressway.
“There is not too many localities that can be less than 30 minutes to Newcastle and boast median house prices under $300,000,” he said.
On a wider scale, the Cessnock local government area’s median sale price rose 7.9 per cent in 2016 – the second-biggest growth in the Hunter behind Port Stephens.
But it is still the third-lowest LGA in the region at $421,000 in the November quarter – $89,000 cheaper than Singleton and $99,000 cheaper than Maitland.
Newcastle City’s median price is $695,000 – an annual increase of 7.7 percent – with the emergence of “million-dollar suburbs” like Bar Beach and Merewether pushing up the price.