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The Hunter Valley, 160 kilometres north of Sydney, was first settled by Europeans in the early 19th century, lured by the region’s abundant coal and timber resources.
Within a few decades, the thick forests had been replaced by agriculture – most notably viticulture, with more than 120 vineyards now supplying fine wines to a worldwide market.
Today the region is still attracting settlers except this time, it’s people looking for a lifestyle change and a canny property investment.
According to local real estate agents, the prime attraction is the region’s low prices, with most properties selling in the $600,000-$700,000 range, although there are a few properties selling for as little as $180,000.
“You could sell an ordinary property in Sydney for $1.5 million and buy three in the Hunter, one to live in and two for investment,” says Alan Jurd, of Jurd’s Real Estate.
With property values in the region increasing greatly in the past 25 years, there will have been many winners, but even latecomers can take comfort from the fact that house values have increased by 12 per cent in Cessnock over the past year and 32 per cent since 2011, according to Domain Group data.
Standing to make a motza, however, is not the only reason to pull up one’s roots in Sydney and move north. There must be more.
According to Luke Anderson, of PRDnationwide Hunter Valley, most of the people moving to the region are retirees and semi-retirees looking for the rural lifestyle with none of the city hassle.
When there’s a bit of downtime, they’ve got top-notch golf courses to play, and vineyards and restaurants (six are hatted) to savour, plus the seaside resort of Port Stevens just 45 minutes away.
“Don’t forget the concerts,” Jurd says. Top-flight international performers who have used several open-air venues in the Pokolbin and Broke districts to entertain their fans include Bruce Springsteen. Midnight Oil is scheduled to perform in October.
Search for homes in the Hunter Valley region by downloading the Domain app.