Residential development in the Cessnock local government area continues in a growth phase, with a record number of dwelling applications approved in the 2018-19 financial year.
And Cessnock's growth is bucking a trend across the state and nation, which have both seen a recent downturn in dwelling approvals.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows Cessnock City Council determined 1062 development applications and modifications in that 12-month period.
This included a record 689 residential building approvals - a 38.4 percent increase from 496 approvals in 2017-18 (the previous record) - with a value of $385 million.
Cliftleigh was the Cessnock LGA's number one hot-spot for development in 2018-19, with 220 new residential dwellings approved (almost one-third of all new dwellings approved in the LGA in that period).
Brad and Jess Burgoyne are among those to build a new home in Cliftleigh in the past year.
The couple chose to move from New Lambton to Cliftleigh because of the affordable land and central location, with Jess working in Cessnock and Brad's work taking him all over the Hunter Valley.
"At time of purchase the proposed large park, sports fields and playgrounds appealed to us, as we believed it would contribute to a family-friendly community," Brad said.
The park has now been completed and the Burgoynes have regularly enjoyed it their dog, Tucker, since moving in a few weeks ago.
"Now we are moved in we know most of the neighbours in our street and they are all lovely, excited to be a part of a new community, and we all look out for one another," Jess said.
On the back of unprecedented growth in the area, Cessnock City Council is in the process of developing a strategic land use plan for Cliftleigh and its neighbouring suburb Heddon Greta (which had 42 residential building approvals in 2018-19).
Other hotspots in the last financial year included North Rothbury (which includes Huntlee) with 109 dwelling approvals, Cessnock and Greta (both with 55), Millfield (35), Paxton (33) and Kitchener (28).
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Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent congratulated the council staff for continuing their strong record of efficient processing times.
The data showed Cessnock Council's average processing time of 52 days remains well below the state average of 71 days. The council's median processing time is 28 days.
Cr Pynsent said the number of development applications continues to increase, indicating a growth phase for the Cessnock LGA.
"We're bucking the trend when compared to the rest of the state with our residential dwelling approvals continuing to increase with 689 residential dwellings approved in the LGA," he said.
"This brings the value of our building approvals, in the last financial year, to $385 million.
"This investment in our area will provide long term benefits on the local economy."
According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in August, the total number of dwellings approved in Australia fell by 3.2 per cent in July 2019 (with a 6.5 percent drop in NSW), and were down 24 percent nationwide when compared to July last year.