If you can get a foot in the Illawarra’s property door you’ll be onto a sure thing, as the region is continually being named a hot pick by property experts.
AECOM cities specialist James Rosenwax labelled Wollongong, along with Newcastle, as a “new world city”.
Mr Rosenwax told the Property Council of Australia these cities have good infrastructure, high quality of life and are typically knowledge and innovation hubs.
He also said education and tourism are often the “anchors” from where new world cities expand.
“The rise of middle class, the shift of global power and wealth towards the East, and technological innovation are just three trends that are driving the ‘new world city’,” he said.
Rent.com.au CEO Greg Bader believes Wollongong has a great mixture of assets, quite unlike any other Australian city.
Mr Bader said the Illawarra’s beaches, lifestyle, proximity to Sydney, growing tourism plus mixture of job opportunities and industries were making it an attractive choice for a variety of people.
“Whereas if you look at Western Australia, for example, we often get called a one trick pony,” he said.
“[Wollongong’s] got everything from people commuting to Sydney CBD, to people looking for a sea change, to people looking for a large regional centre that still has all the facilities but doesn’t have the drama of major city.
“You would seem to have the best layer of insulation ... because you’ve got so many opportunities and so many different reasons to be there. If Sydney slows, for example, it’ll have a small impact but there’s so many other reasons why it’ll keep going.”
Mr Bader predicts the rise of the renter in the near future due to increasing house prices and people wanting a more flexible lifestyle.
He also predicts the rise of what he calls the “rentvestor” in Wollongong, whereby residents rent in the area they love and buy a property where they can afford (Brisbane and Adelaide offer more affordable property investments, at a median of $540,758 and $501,166 respectively).
“People change jobs and travel more often than every before … 30 years ago to say I’m moving to Melbourne or Sydney for work the whole family gathers around and it was almost like a wake,” Mr Bader said.
However renting doesn’t mean you have to miss out on growing your personal wealth, he said, and suggested surplus cash go towards an investment property or stocks.
“It’s a little bit of a hedging strategy,” he said.
Kim Rawson, the Property Council’s new regional director in the Illawarra, believes Wollongong is about to boom and said UOW is one of the region’s greatest assets.
“The university’s aim is to be within the global top one per cent for teaching and research, and is investing in infrastructure to meet the projected increase in enrollments,” Ms Rawson said.
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