Regional centres can match capital growth of big cities

Regional centres can match capital growth of big cities
Regional centres can match capital growth of big cities

One of the prevailing myths in residential real estate is that you should always buy in the capital cities because regional centres can’t match the big cities on capital growth.

And like most generalised commentary on Australian housing issues, it’s rubbish.

The myth is supported by research companies which specialise in trying to encapsulate an entire nation or a very large region in a single growth figure.

Here’s a recent example: dwelling values have grown 7 percent in the combined capital cities in the past 12 months, but the combined regional areas have grown 5 percent.

That’s pretty clear, right? The capital cities win again!

But, like all generalisations about Australian real estate, the figures are meaningless and essentially useless.

The 7% growth figure for capital cities doesn’t tell us anything useful, because it disguises two cities where values have fallen, two where values have grown very little, a couple with solid growth and a couple with strong growth.

And within those capital cities, there are myriad different scenarios playing out for local reasons.

So you can imagine how many disparate and diverse local market situations contribute to the huge melting pot that distils them into one small, misleading and basically pointless figure for “regional Australia”: 5% growth, according to one source.

Why do they do it? Because media laps it up and gives them lots of free publicity for this steady stream of worthless misinformation.

Much more useful is looking at individual markets – some of which blow away the myth about regional markets under-performing.

The city of Newcastle is as good an example as any. Newcastle - driven by a strong local economy and big spending on infrastructure and new development, as well as appealing prices relative to Sydney - has produced extremely strong price growth in the past two years (as we predicted at Hotspotting).

Most suburbs of the Newcastle City LGA have had double-digit growth in their median house prices in the past 12 months. Eight of those suburbs have grown more than 20 percent, including a couple above 30 percent.

The median for Waratah is up 16 percent to $555,000, Adamstown is up 23 percent to $655,000, Stockton has grown 21 percent to $690,000, Maryville 26 percent to $720,000 and Cooks Hill 32 percent to $1,085,000.

Under-pinning that growth has been massive investment in the Newcastle economy. The Hotspotting lists of projects driving the economic growth total well over $20 billion, including resources, transport infrastructure, commercial, retail and residential developments.

The only regional city in Australia that can match Newcastle for this level of investment is the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, which also tops $20 billion.

Of course, given the very high price growth that’s already occurred in Newcastle, it’s too late to get into that market at a decent price.

But there are other ways to benefit from what’s happening in Newcastle, which is part of a broader region.

The Lake Macquarie LGA, which borders Newcastle City, is also a growth market but hasn’t yet had the same level of price increases.

And heading west out into the Hunter Valley, there are numerous towns moving into growth phases but with the big price growth yet to come – such as Maitland and Cessnock.

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of

Terry Ryder

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