Why the Central Coast is set to Flourish - August 2023
August 25, 2023 / Written by Rich Harvey
For decades, the New South Wales Central Coast region was in a property market holding pattern. It was flying under the radar of homebuyers and investors alike. But COVID’s significant upheaval brought the region into the limelight. Now, a raft of drivers across the political and economic spectrum will deliver exciting times to the Central Coast – and those who own property will be among the biggest beneficiaries.
Anthony Knight, Principal buyers’ advocate for Propertybuyer on the Central Coast, has lived in the region for decades. We recently chatted about the region and why he’s excited about what’s to come.
For decades, the Central Coast was treated like a no-man’s-land between Sydney and the Hunter Region, split between the shires of Gosford and Wyong. But in 2016, those two local authorities were merged to create the Central Coast Regional Council.
Anthony said this was significant for the area. It suffered from an identity crisis of sorts that had led to some very real funding losses. He said prior to the amalgamation, state and federal funding would end up split between Newcastle and the Northern Beaches. The Central Coast suburbs that were most in need of financial assistance were often overlooked.
That’s now changed, particularly in response to the New South Wales State Government’s Six Cities. This program will include funding and support directed to the Central Coast. These dollars will help establish much needed infrastructure – such as road upgrades and utilities – while promoting the region to private investment as well.
And evidence shows the benefits of investment will be tangible. For example, the now established North Connex project means it’s possible to travel from Sydney’s northern suburbs to the Central Coast in under an hour. That broadens the area’s appeal to a whole new crowd of potential commuter residents.
Pandemic boost and affordability
The current popularity of the Central Coast is in part due to the regionalisation of the population during COVID. The Central Coast became a go-to option as folks looked for less densely populated areas during the upheaval.
That let the genie out of the bottle. Despite our return to post-pandemic normalcy, the Central Coast remains popular with those seeking lifestyle and affordable housing.
In addition to homebuyers, renters have arrived in droves as well, which is great news for property investors.
The region’s rental vacancy rate went close to zero per cent at one stage during the pandemic, although it now sits at 1.5 per cent which is still a very tight market. Rents have increased to now be at a median of $650 a week, reflecting a strong yield given the relatively low price for property here.
In fact, real estate affordability has been a reason people are relocating to the Central Coast. As of August 2023, the median house price on the Central Coast is $1.07 million. Compare that to the $1.81 million median for Sydney housing. Now, if you’re a young family on a 30-year mortgage, that $800,000 difference in buy-in price will equate to millions of dollars in saved payments over the lifetime of that loan.
A more qualitative change helping boost the region’s prospects is gentrification. The change in the Central Coast’s demographic is palpable.
Anthony said when he first moved to the area in 1997, it was known colloquially as “Blacktown by the sea”. There was a distinctly western-Sydney demographic with a population dominated by blue-collar workers, retirees and households with low disposable income.
That, however, has changed dramatically in the past decade, and even more so post-pandemic. Folks have flocked here from bigger centres – many being white-collar professionals with families. This has fueled demand for lifestyle facilities such as bars, restaurants and cafés.
Then there are the excellent schooling options on hand. Central Coast Grammar School is one of the most respected education institutions in New South Wales, while Gosford High School is ranked among the top 50 in the state.
Hot property options
Anthony said he’s keeping an eye on a few locations throughout the Central Coast.
For those with higher budgets looking for exclusive beachside living, the long term favourites of Avoca Beach, MacMasters Beach and Copacabana have always been hard to beat – they also provide a perfect weekender location for Sydney-siders.
However, investors and families can find great value in suburbs such as Kincumber at the southern end of the region is not glitzy by any means, but it is positioned just 10-minutes’ drive from some stunning beaches – and with a median home price of just $957,000, it’s hard to beat for value.
Ongoing gentrification in Long Jetty is boosting property prices too. 20 years ago, residents would avoid Long Jetty which had a reputation for being a bit rough. Now, the emergence of great lifestyle facilities such as cafés and restaurants has resulted in a significant uplift in real estate values. There’s a lake on one side of the suburb and a beach on the other which means fibro shacks that were once shunned are now highly desirable. While there has been strengthening in this market, Anthony thinks there’s more to come for the right types of property.
Bateau Bay is another suburb where facilities such as the local shopping centre are driving demand. Perhaps even more crucial is that Bateau Bay is a “bridesmaid” suburb. Its appeal feeds off demand for the more expensive address of nearby Wamberal, and even Terrigal to the south. Road widening and other works will make Bateau Bay even more accessible, which helps drive demand for housing.
Further north there’s also a lot happening in Warnervale. There are new land developments delivering more housing options to buyers. Also, accessibility is excellent. There’s a train line, easy access to the M1 and even a local aerodrome.
The Central Coast has plenty to offer homebuyers and investors. Without doubt the best way to secure a home or asset is to ask a local expert to represent your interests. Anthony has the networks and experience to ensure a great outcome from your next property purchase.
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