Sydney property buyers head to northern lifestyle markets like Central Coast and Newcastle in record numbers

Adam Devine | June 14, 2016

SYDNEY’S lofty property prices are spreading to once affordable neighbouring regions as cashed up buyers pour millions into lifestyle properties close to beaches and reserve land.

​Real estate agents said areas like the Central Coast have begun to mirror conditions that characterised Sydney over its 2012 to 2015 property boom, when city properties recorded a nearly 40 per cent jump in value, on average.

Home sale activity in Central Coast councils is also up 17.6 per cent on long-term trends, Core Logic figures show, with properties in Pearl Beach and Avoca Beach recently selling for some of the highest prices in the country.

​Recent sales have included a house on Coral Crescent sold for $5.2 million and a house on Avoca Drive sold for $4.15 million.

Further north, the median price of houses in the Newcastle CBD surpassed $1 million for the first time earlier this year, while the median in nearby Bar Beach hit $1.4 million.

Much of this increased sales activity has been the result of Sydney buyers streaming into northern areas hoping to get more bang for their buck, Starr Partners East Gosford director Paul Starr said.

​“We’ve seen a big shift in where buyers are coming from,” Mr Starr said. “What you get in areas like Gosford is so much more than what you get in some parts of Sydney for the same price and that’s what is luring Sydneysiders to the area.”

Over the last few months, record numbers of Sydney buyers have been hitting parts of the Central Coast, which has become a magnet for those on the hunt for units to turn into investment properties, Mr Starr added.

​Some units in Wyoming have sold three days after coming onto the market, while a unit at 12 Baker St in Gosford was on the market for just a week, selling for $275,000 above expectations.

“Two years ago, these units were difficult to sell,” Mr Starr said.

Core Logic head of research Tim Lawless said investors have had a renewed impact on NSW prices because some lenders have relaxed previous restrictions placed on their loan books, allowing investors to buy more properties.

The Reserve Bank of Australia’s latest cash rate cut, which pulled the standard variable mortgage rate to its lowest level since 1968, has further encouraged investors, Mr Lawless said.

​Housing finance data showed investors now comprise 47.6 per cent of all new mortgage commitments, up from 42.9 per cent in November last year.

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