John Parade: best street in the Hunter?

SOME people regard it as the best street in the Hunter.

And on a sunny day, fanned by a light offshore breeze, it's hard to argue with the view.

Others couldn't imagine living such a fishbowl existence or having to deal with salt spray and howling southerlies.

It's been home to a professional tennis player, world-travelled rock star, champion surfer, high-profile grocer and the owner of a shopping chain now in liquidation, with a rugby league star and racehorse owner living around the corner.

Welcome to John Parade, Merewether.

The luxury beach strip has long been part of Newcastle's car "lapping" culture, with many motorists keen for a surf check or "optic nerve".

It has become increasingly popular with walkers and joggers pounding the pavement from the Ocean Baths, past Merewether Beach, the surf break nicknamed "Pogos" after a former resident, Dixon Park, The Cliff and Bar Beach up Memorial Drive to Strzelecki Lookout and beyond or back again.

Newcastle City Council has counted up to 500 people an hour using parts of Bathers Way, which is undergoing a significant facelift.

Precious little luxury property has been officially for sale this year around Newcastle, but three in John Parade are either on the market or almost sold.

Number 16, which went to market in May, is currently under exchange of contract, according to Robinson Property's Ben Robinson.

At the time of going to press, the sold price hadn't been disclosed for the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house, which is at the northern end. Australian Property Monitors records show it was first listed with an asking price of $3.995 million.

Neighbouring property number 18 has a $4 million plus price tag. With a land value of $3.5 million and $1 million in renovations, it's worth every cent according to listing agent Mark Kentwell of PRDnationwide.

The five-bedroom, four-bathroom house has been on the market since June.

Mr Kentwell said top-end properties were often marketed with less agressive campaigns due to fewer buyers in that price bracket.

The roadworks out front - the path is being widened and traffic changed to one way - has had an impact too.

"It was awkward for people to slow down in their cars to look and even more awkward to obtain parking and car access nearby," said Mr Kentwell, who believes the completed works will enhance John Parade's property value and "boulevarde" appeal.

Walkom Real Estate agent Danny de Carvalho said number 22 John Parade, which passed in at auction on a vendor bid of $3 million in October 2010, is still for sale for offers over $2.5 million.

What's the Hunter's best street? Leave your thoughts below.

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