Everyone loves the coast, beautiful beaches, light breezes, that wonderful relaxed holiday vibe that makes us forget our ‘normal’ daily lives.  But even desirable coastal communities aren’t immune from property market downturns.  Sydney’s coastal suburbs, often considered the most dynamic and robust in Australia have been in the grip of a ‘softening’, experiencing a 4.5% slide over the past year.  But the Hunter has bucked the trend, delivering several of the biggest house price increases in regional Australia.  And our very own Port Stephens is leading the way with a year on year increase of a 16%. 

Why Port Stephens?  Well, this stunning collection of vibrant communities boasts a lifestyle that is attracting disillusioned urbanites seeking to spend more time with their families. Wonderful weather year-round, proximity to beaches with pristine waters, coastal dunes, national parks, marinas and vibrant shopping and dining options. Additionally, Newcastle is booming with an inner-city revitalization, excellent schools and commercial precincts.  Improved transport links to Sydney via good quality roads and rail, plus handy proximity to Newcastle’s Williamtown Airport allows those working in Sydney, but only needing to be in the office 2-3 days a week, with the opportunity to combine city careers with appealing regional lifestyles.  And with a median house price of $637,500 and $437,000 for units for the first quarter of 2018, affordability is a key driver, as vendors seeking to escape from Sydney do so with a greater level of purchasing income at their disposal.  

The most important town in the Port Stephens region is Nelson Bay.  Situated on a picturesque inlet, Nelson Bay is a long-time favourite with views over stunning beaches, waterside restaurants and boutique shopping strips combining with schools and essential services to offer permanent living in a holiday environment only 50 kms from Newcastle and 2.5hrs from Sydney. Consistently strong in the property market, this appealing town enjoys a median sale price of $640,000 for a solid 4.07% annual growth; a level of growth that shows no sign of slowing.  Not only is this a desirable area to buy into as an owner-occupier, there are solid rental returns for the property investor.  Weekly rental figures of $440 for houses and $380 for units, and vacancy rates of 1.5% give investors much to be happy about.  

Another area enjoying strong growth is Karuah, a quiet and relaxing destination along the Karuah River.  A $405,000 median price. Compared to the same period five years ago, the median house sales price has increased 30% which translates to a compound annual growth of 5.5%.  Strong demand for rentals delivers an average weekly rental of $375 for an annual yield of 4.8%.  Karuah is a growth area to watch.

In a punishing Sydney market, buyers are increasingly looking to all areas of Port Stephens including Medowie, Raymond Terrace and Seaham locations.  And two drivers that are becoming all the more important to personal and family wellbeing are housing affordability and lifestyle……and Port Stephens has both in abundance.   Buyers are out there and they are keen to purchase.  Now is a great time to list.