It used to be known as a coal mining and steel milling town that employed thousands of miners and workers in heavy industries until 1999.
Today, Newcastle is well on its path of transformation from a mining town to a smart and vibrant city.
While a few of the last vestiges of its mining past lay scattered in some tourist spots as if to remind visitors of its powerhouse status, Newcastle is fast becoming a city of trendy cafes, restaurants, bars, shopping centres, boutique shops and business centres for the up and coming entrepreneurs who want to call Newcastle home.
Its port area is still frantically busy – transporting goods and resources from Australia to international markets. At the same time, cruise liners regularly call in (before the pandemic and lockdowns) bringing thousands of visitors.
An outstanding development is the newly expanded central train station which serves as a major transport hub that links Newcastle to Sydney, Central Coast and the greater Hunter Region. A new light rail service now also runs from the city centre to Newcastle Beach.
So, if the mention of Newcastle brings a picture of a sleepy beachside town, it is time to change that image to a lively, vibrant, trendy and smart city with all the amenities, intelligent buildings, transport and a more relaxed lifestyle.
What’s attracting people to live in Newcastle?
Given the massive infrastructure build (with many still ongoing and timetabled), it’s no wonder Newcastle is attracting a lot of people. There’s no doubt this regional city is popular with tree changers and sea changers who may prefer a more relaxed lifestyle by the beach.
But a recent study of the interstate and regional migration at the height of the lockdowns showed that Newcastle is also attracting many millennials, entrepreneurs and professionals from a wide range of service industries.
In a recent media interview, Nuatali Nelmes, Lord Mayor of Newcastle, highlighted the smart city initiative as the core policy to attract and retain the younger generation as well as a more diverse range of skilled and qualified people to live, work and establish businesses in Newcastle.
“Newcastle is considered a global gateway which has an international capacity airport, an internationally recognised university and a global trading port.’
‘Young people see the benefits of all these services and facilities. We’ve moved on from the previous image of a steel city to a place where people can enjoy access to the beaches and other natural resources, modern and efficient transport services.”
“People are not stuck into the commute like in the big cities. And this is a more rewarding lifestyle.”
Most people who chose to move to Newcastle said they enjoy the best of both worlds – enjoying the accessibility to the beach, parks and a more relaxed lifestyle while being just two hours away from Sydney.
This means while working from home (for the past two years), people who moved to Newcastle enjoyed more and bigger spaces for outdoor activities. And if they have to go to Sydney, they could hop on the train or drive only for two hours.
But even before the lockdowns, there have been signs that more people are getting attracted to what Newcastle has to offer.
Newcastle investment properties set for stronger growth
As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, the confluence of infrastructure, population growth and employment are the key drivers of property prices. They are good indicators of the potential growth in areas or regions that are about to undergo massive changes.
In a recent analysis of the Newcastle property market, Domenic Nesci, co-founder at Wealthi said, “Some changes are hard to quantify because they happen over time. Newcastle is undergoing a lot of changes (with a lot more infrastructure build to come) now and you have to see it. You have to visit to see and feel how this city is transforming.”
Under the Newcastle 2030 program, the city government has set its strategic and visionary direction that aims to deliver a smart and innovative city living and lifestyle for Newcastle.
Diving deep into the core of Newcastle 2030, it’s obvious that this city has set some lofty goals around building a vibrant and thriving city where people can enjoy living, working in and investing in.
To realise its goals, Newcastle has outlined extensive multi-million dollar plans to build a diverse and resilient green economy based on educational excellence and research.
Newcastle has a strong reputation for its universities and other research institutions.
Under a program to attract more people with diverse talents and expertise, Newcastle embarked on a program to entice business start-ups to settle and expand in Newcastle at the height of the pandemic in 2020 – 2021.
Newcastle: some facts and figures
· Home to approximately 167,363 people (as of June 2020 based on Estimated Resident Population of the Australian Bureau of Statistics)
· Cultural and economic capital of the Hunter Region in NSW
· Service sector has a strong focus on health, finance and insurance, social care
· Welcomes and enjoys about 4.1 million visitors each year
· Booming construction industry
· A strong economy that supports an estimated 102,800 jobs, representing 36.6% of the 280,855 people working in the Hunter Region
All these – multi-million infrastructure program, campaigns to attract millennials, entrepreneurs and other skilled professionals and a strong employment environment – will no doubt add to the attraction of Newcastle.
Why invest in property in Newcastle?
If you’ve always invested in property in the city (or just outside), it may be worthwhile to consider investing in a regional area like Newcastle. Here are a few reasons to consider:
Diversification – Investing in a regional city like Newcastle will give you exposure to potentially massive growth as the area transforms over the coming years.
Investing in some of the major developments in Newcastle will give you a great entry into this market while property prices are still relatively affordable compared to what you can get in Sydney.
Demand for regional properties - While we’re seeing the return of workers to city offices, there is the possibility that some people would choose to work from home. If not full time, some employees may opt to do a mix of work from home and work in the office, which has its own merit for some type of work.
What this means is that people would want the flexibility and accessibility of accommodation in a regional area like Newcastle.
Employment opportunities – As Newcastle pursue its smart city vision, it will create and attract more people in various fields and industries. While Newcastle is known for its strong healthcare and financial services workforce, it is also attracting entrepreneurs and other professionals who will prefer the relaxed and vibrant community in Newcastle.
As we’ve identified Newcastle as a rising (star) city, the Wealthi Team recently visited an upcoming property development — the Dairy Farmers Tower - which will rise on one of the most iconic locations on Hunter Street in Newcastle. The tower will be architecturally designed and destined to be a new landmark in the city of Newcastle.
And we were impressed with what we saw including the stunning views, proximity to the beach and to city amenities plus the superb layout and finishes of each apartment unit.
According to the developer, Dairy Farmers Tower will have 184 stunning residences over five floors of commercial and retail spaces. The tower will have communal spaces that will create a community among residents.
Whether you’re looking for a regional city property to invest in or to diversify your portfolio to include an upcoming location outside the major cities like Sydney or Melbourne, Newcastle is a must to visit and experience.
If you would like to discuss the Newcastle property market in more detail, please reach out to the team to organise a time to have a conversation about how Wealthi can help you build a successful property portfolio.