Today I drove around a new land estate in the Hunter Region of NSW where we now have a couple of dual occupancy projects planned. It was early morning - I'd left Sydney by 6am to get an early start on my day. As I pulled up to the site we are looking to secure for a client - it had just turned 8am, my eye was caught by a ruckus across the road.
It was still a paddock as this estate was expanding and not yet complete. There a horse seemed to be rounding up the six or seven calves he shared the paddock with. My love of horses and animals lured me over and I caught a quick pat before the horse turned on his hind quarters and I snapped a quick photo of their frolics.
It reminded me that this estate, whilst carefully planned for by NSW Planning as an integral land release area due to the proximity to major economic hubs, transport and infrastructure, used to be pastoral land. So living here gives you a sense of country life but within twenty minutes you can be in the CBD of the sixth largest city of Australia - Newcastle.
In this master planned estate, there is a very good co-educational day school for students from Preschool to Year 12. Kids can easily and safely walk to and from school. There is a fabulous state of the art sporting ground which includes two professional football fields, a cricket pitch, tennis courts and netball courts. There is also a new community centre. There's a great kids play park with a massive climbing structure and wonderful bike and walking paths that take you around the estate, with areas to sit and ponder whilst looking out to natural wet lands or bushland.
One of the spaces I love it the Aboriginal heritage conservation area where you can learn and connect to the original lands owners. This area has a lovely peaceful feel and includes 'footprints' in the concrete that are reminders of the 'ghosts' of the original people. There's a sitting area and recycled water runs across a large sandstone flat rock with grooves typical of areas where once Aboriginal tools were worked.
Just up the road, within 1km is an Aldi Store under construction and within the same area in the opposite direction in a new village shopping centre including a Coles Supermarket, lovely cafe and other essentials shops such as a hair salon, bottle shop and community bank.
Most importantly for investors, there was good sales references, the median price is well above neighbouring suburbs and a strong rental demand. With a high percentage of owner occupiers within this estate tenants would want a piece of the action. People loved living here for all the benefits the estate offered but also because of the quick drive time into the CBC of Newcastle.
To top it off, this area has the largest and fastest population growth within the north and south of Greater Sydney, up 3,000 people or 35% * ABS NSW Regional Population Growth 2011.
I needed to report back to our client so he could move forward in securing the land. As I stood on our dual occupancy site, taking photos of the surrounding homes that were very nicely presented and looked after, I thought, 'hey I would really like to live here myself'. Now that could be a very good indication.