Life on the coast

Published: Friday, August 09, 2019


Words by John McGrath

The Central Coast has always been a popular commuter hub for Sydneysiders seeking better affordability and a beachy lifestyle, with good transport links by road and rail back to the city. 

Now the region is being revitalised under a 20-year government plan that commenced in 2016 and includes a complete overhaul of Gosford CBD, the coast’s designated ‘capital city’.

In Gosford, thousands of new jobs are being created locally, providing more scope for Sydney professionals to relocate and find a new job closer to home instead of commuting.

The ATO and NSW Finance Departments have opened offices in Gosford, there’s the $350 million Gosford Hospital redevelopment and the upcoming $200 million upgrade to Wyong Hospital. Even more jobs are on the way, with a proposed $350 million private hospital and $280 million redevelopment of the Kibbleplex site, including new shops, cafes, entertainment and residential apartments.

For those who want to live on the coast but retain their city jobs, the commute will soon be easier.

Fifty-five brand new trains on the Sydney to Central Coast and Newcastle line will make the trip much more comfortable, with all the mod cons that commuters need, including roomier seats with high back chairs and armrests, tray tables so you can work, mobile phone charging ports and wi-fi.

Next year, when NorthConnex opens, commuters from as far as Newcastle will be able to drive all the way through to Sydney and even Melbourne, with no traffic lights.

Large developers are looking to the coast for new opportunities and are creating buildings of a quality, far superior to anything ever built there before. Designed for owner-occupiers, these apartments have the stylish living spaces and designer fittings that city professionals want.  

Our Central Coast offices have seen a wave of first home buyers from Sydney drawn by these new, high quality apartments that are well under the stamp duty concession threshold of $650,000.

“That price point rules out a large section of Sydney,” says McGrath Central Coast Group Principal, Jaimie Woodcock. “Up here, young buyers can get a brand new apartment, very high quality with views, near the rail line back to Sydney for well under $650,000.

“First home buyers these days see themselves as investors too, they want something that is going to hold its value and gain equity over the long term, so they are responding very enthusiastically to this new level of apartment design and quality on the coast.”

Developers are also targeting downsizers, who are coming to the coast not only for affordability, lifestyle and proximity to the grandkids in Sydney but also vastly improved local health services.

The coast’s liveability is being enhanced by many new small businesses including cafes, bars, micro-breweries and yoga studios to serve a growing population that values lifestyle.

An effective ‘greenifying’ of the entire coast is also underway to make it more visually beautiful, with contemporary streetscaping and lots of new recreational spaces for people to enjoy.

Among the biggest plans is the proposed $10 million transformation of the Leagues Club Field at Gosford. The plans show lots of green open spaces, walkways, splash and play areas for the kids and picnic zones all within a bushland setting on the city fringe.

I asked McGrath Central Coast Group Principal, Jaimie Woodcock, for his top two suburb picks and no surprise, he believes Gosford is a great pick for apartment buyers. For house buyers, he recommends Long Jetty.

“Prices have been moving up dramatically along the coastal strip in areas like Avoca, Wamberal and Terrigal and that price wave is starting to move into the older suburbs,” he explains.

“Long Jetty has an emerging retail and café strip, it’s close to the beach and has a very Newtown Sydney vibe. There are many old homes waiting to be renovated and they’re perfect for young people on a budget who want to put their own stamp on a property.”

With so much new public and private investment turbocharging the Central Coast’s economy, along with new infrastructure, enhanced services, especially in health and education; and a complete makeover planned for many areas, there are excellent prospects for capital growth in property.

Latest figures from CoreLogic/Moody’s predicts fantastic price growth on the Coast in 2020 and 2021. Apartments prices will grow faster than any area of Sydney, with predictions of a 13.1% price bump in 2020 followed by another 13.8% increase in 2021. 

They also predict respectable house price growth of 4.1% and 5.5% in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

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