It’s been the silent success story of the region’s property market in 2016.
For years, growth has been sluggish on the western shores of Lake Macquarie, while buyers have flocked to buy in upmarket Newcastle and eastern Lake Macquarie.
But going on the latest data from Australia Property Monitors, it would seem the tide is turning.
The median price in Dora Creek and Balcolyn has surged 21 per cent in 2016. Other strong performers were Booragul (37 per cent), Bolton Point (17 per cent) and Buttaba (15 per cent).
Paul Campbell – also known as ‘Mr Waterfront’ – has worked in the market for 25 years and now owns five LJ Hooker offices on the western side of the lake.
He said savvy buyers were finally seeing the potential in the area.
“I think there’s been a bit of a lag but western Lake Macquarie is coming into its own,” he said.
“Smart buyers have been doing their homework. They have recognised that west of the lake represents incredible value and they’ve been taking action. But it’s clear there’s still plenty of room to catch up.”
Mr Campbell said prices in the prestige market were also lifting after a long period of stability. His agencies had seen 22 waterfront properties change hands in 18 weeks and the proportion of buyer inquiries turning into sales had doubled.
“That is a reflection of more Sydney buyers coming into the area, a lot them from the Hills District,” he said.
The growing interest from out of town has sparked concern that Novocastrians could be priced out of their own market.
But Mr Campbell believed there was still “great value right across the board” in his patch, especially for first-home buyers. The draw-cards were the lakeside lifestyle, the rail line and proximity to the M1 motorway.
“At the entry level, around $350k, you can still buy quality homes. That’s a market that’s really starting to disappear across Newcastle and eastern Lake Macquarie.
“From the Sydney perspective they see how affordable we are and sometimes they’re shocked at just what you can buy.”