/The top regional hot spots in NSW for 2019

The top regional hot spots in NSW for 2019

Lighthouse beach seen from the lighthouse in Port Macquarie in the summer

It’s easy to see why the Port Macquarie region is so popular. Source: iStock

With property prices in Sydney still well out of reach for many buyers, regional hot spots are providing home seekers with an affordable pathway into the market.

Large regional towns in NSW offer many of the amenities available in Sydney and are attractive to first home buyers and investors.

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The top regional hot spots in NSW for 2019 have been identified as Maitland, Dubbo, Port Macquarie and the Yass Valley in the PRDnationwide Ready, Set, Go Regional report.

The landmark Castlereagh Hotel in Dubbo. (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)

The report takes into account five key criteria — affordability, property trends, investment, project development and the unemployment rate — to narrow down the best regional locations across the country.

The median price of each Local Government Area reveals that Yass Valley is currently the most expensive at $565,000 for a house, per CoreLogic data, while the Dubbo region is the cheapest at $355,000.

Prices have expanded by 10.8 per cent in Yass Valley over the past 12 months, while Dubbo LGA prices shot up by 5.8 per cent. All four regions recorded positive growth.

PRDnationwide national research manager Dr Diaswati Mardiasmo said while there were some surprises on the list across the nation, it is clear there are plenty of ways to build your property portfolio.

This home at 791 Wargeila Rd in Yass is on the market.

“You don’t have to look at the areas everyone else is looking at or the media is highlighting,” she said.

A key indicator for expected property growth, according to Dr Mardiasmo, is ensuring the region is in a position to expand economically in the future, which then flows through to house prices.

“At the moment we want to shine light on these areas as they have fundamentals for growth in the future,” she said.

“They might be closer to other growing areas but have been quietly building up their infrastructure.”

You can get this villa at 1/6 Worcester Drive in East Maitland for $425,000 to $450,000.

The report is targeted at both first home buyers and investors, giving them the opportunity to buy into regions that have an unemployment rate lower than the NSW state average and the infrastructure in place to see more activity in the region, Dr Mardiasmo said.

On top of this, the regions all have a higher rental yield compared to the capital city and a lower vacancy rate, she added.

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Cazz Blyss of First National Real Estate in Yass said the region had stayed steady, mainly due to its links to Canberra and its relaxed lifestyle.

“We have great country living and services like schools and the hospital, as well as being an easy commute to Canberra,” she said.

The region has also been a hit with Sydneysiders, according to Ms Blyss, with around 10 to 15 per cent of buyers coming from the capital.

“We do get the odd Sydney buyer wanting to be closer to families and get out of the hustle and bustle. There are still quite a few investors around,” she said.

Todd Fisher of LJ Hooker Maitland said the Maitland region has benefited from major infrastructure projects like the $421m redevelopment of Stockland Green Hills and the new Maitland Hospital.

The affordability of the area, which has a median house price of just $470,000, coupled with the location close to Newcastle, has seen it become popular with first home buyers, downsizers and investors.

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“There are really good job prospects and employment opportunities,” he said.

“I don’t know too many areas so well located that you can buy sub-$400,000 — it’s a great introduction into the property market.”

Tighter lending conditions and comments about negative gearing have seen a decline in investors, but prices haven’t necessarily been impacted, he added.

Data suggests prices in the region are still expanding, with growth of 5.6 per cent over the past year.