2 July 2019
Newcastle’s once dormant inner-city area is being transformed into an exciting and bustling retirement and downsizing location, largely thanks to major new transport, education and urban amenity investments.
For the last two decades, Newcastle’s inner-city has suffered from urban decay. The main thoroughfare of Hunter St has experienced empty retail shops and a lack of foot traffic and new development.
This trend is now being reversed, thanks to hundreds of millions of dollars in new infrastructure.
The NSW Government invested over $650 million into the CBD renewal with the recently-opened Newcastle Light Rail a significant cogwheel in the renaissance. You can read more about the Newcastle CBD revitalisation here.
Additional infrastructure is in the pipeline.
For instance, Newcastle Airport has signed a $50 million debt facility agreement with ANZ Bank over five years that will be used towards a significant upgrade of a range of aeronautical facilities and create thousands of additional jobs.
In addition, the University of Newcastle recently filed a development application for stage one of a $95 million creative industries and innovation hub in the city’s CBD. This follows the opening of Hunter St's NeW Space, an iconic education and technology university building, in June 2018.
Downsizers taking advantage of infrastructure boost
The improvements to the cityscape haven’t gone unnoticed by downsizers.
“There were a lot of owner-occupiers and more than I expected,” Mr Capuano said. “Hamilton is popular with downsizers because it’s close to [inner city] Beaumont Street and the retail and hospitality of that popular district. Those living in Tudor Street also have good access into Newcastle without being in the centre of town.”
Meanwhile, Peter Aloupis, the CEO & Licensee of Green St Property, says that around 60 per cent of downsizers buying new and off-the-plan apartments are locals, with the balance made up of retirees from Sydney, and major regional growth centres such as Tamworth and Singleton.
“These guys are ex-farmers who like to spend big when they move to Newcastle,” Mr Aloupis said.
Returning expats who have spent a decade or more in Hong Kong, Singapore or Korea are also among downsizers now calling the centre of Newcastle home.
“They have done their time in Asia, made their money and want to retire close to where they grew up,” Mr Aloupis said.
The price sweet spot in the Newcastle CBD for many downsizers lies between $800,000 and $1.5 million, contends Mr Aloupis, who says they are seeking apartments with ultramodern finishes and appliances, have minimal upkeep, and are conveniently located to retail precincts and the harbour promenade.
That said, there are apartments ticking boxes for downsizes that are significantly more affordable than $800,000.
For example, Green St Property is offering a one-bedroom apartment as part of the major East End development, with a price guide of $580,000. The project is scheduled for completion in quarter three 2020.
Separately, Street Property is offering a spacious three-bedroom exhibition apartment for $589,000 in the Newcastle CBD with expansive views, along with a number of other inner-city properties. This spacious apartment boasts a prestigious location in Newcastle’s inner city, conveniently positioned only a moments’ walk to everything.
Meanwhile, RSL Lifecare is currently marketing the luxury and new Long Tan retirement village at King St in Newcastle (pictured above the headline), for prices between $660,000 and $1.1 million. This village offers 76 two-bedroom (plus study) independent living units with contemporary, open-plan living.
The convenience of major city
In Newcastle, downsizers have an enviable array of lifestyle options and local conveniences. As Mr Capuano from the Stevens Group says: “You have a good CBD, good shopping, good hospital facilities and it’s close to the beach. Newcastle ticks many boxes for downsizing.”
At the same time, Mr Aloupis from Green St Property says the light rail has helped bring the community together.
“Newcastle has never been a hard place to travel around. All the light rail project has done is clean up the streetscape and made it more attractive for buyers including downsizers,” he said. He also added that since the light rail opening, the “critics have vanished.”
Transport is a recurring theme attracting downsizers to Newcastle, says Mr Aloupis. “Newcastle Airport has allowed locals to fly to national destinations, so the announcement of upgrades at Williamtown will be good news for downsizers.”
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