Economy

Little-known Dudley heads RP Data’s Top 100 growth suburbs

Larry Schlesinger /

Dudley, the southern coastal suburb of Newcastle that started life as a coal mining town in the 1880s, has ranked as Australia’s number one location for house price growth, according to figures compiled by RP Data.

The latest Top 100 suburb report, which examines median dwelling value changes for the 12 months to June 2012 is heavily populated by regional locations close to mining activity, which make up almost a third of locations on the list.

Dudley secured top spot on the list by registering a 35.7% increase in dwelling prices over the year to June from a median of $394,000 to $535,000.

The prominence of Dudley and 11 other Hunter regions in the top 100 reflects a trend of dissatisfied Sydneysiders, many of whom have been priced out of the market, heading north and buying in the more affordable suburbs of Newcastle and nearby Lake Macquarie.

What is now a coastal suburb with waterfront properties, began life as a South Burwood Colliery in 1885 with sinking operations commencing in 1888. In 1898 a methane gas explosion killed 15 miners.

Grainy turn-of-the-century images show Dudley as an industrial town dominated by the Dudley Coal Mine, a far-cry from its current status as a lifestyle destination and short walk to the beach for many residents.

An advertisement for a clearance sale of Dudley township allotments in 1927 by the Dudley Land and Coal Company Estate shows 47 homesites for sale requiring a 20% cash deposit and monthly repayments of £1 a month on a 5% interest rate.

RP Data national research director Tim Lawless attributed the growth to a combination of increased prices and extra house sales.

Dudley recorded 32 sales in the year to June compared to 21 in the previous year with Lawless adding that its growth was also due to it being a small housing market, which have volatility.

“It’s a market close to the Hunter, close to resources, it’s got lifestyle and is close to thriving mining regions,” Lawless told The Weekend Australian.

Second on the list behind Dudley is the Queensland mining town of Collinsville in the coal-rich Bowen Basin region in central Queensland (prices up 34.9%) followed by another coal mining hotspot, Moranbah (34.2%).

WA’s Pilbara mining region is also strongly represented with South Hedland and Port Hedland ranking in the top 10 and notable for their high median dwelling prices – $898,000 and $1.28 million respectively.

Top 10 suburbs for house price growth

Rank

State

Suburb

Median June 2012

Median June 2011

Change

1

NSW

Dudley

$535,000

$394,000

35.7%

2

Qld

Collinsville

$273,000

$202,000

34.9%

3

Qld

Moranbah

$722,000

$538,000

34.2%

4

WA

South Hedland

$898,000

$673,000

33.4%

5

Qld

Blackwater

$449,000

$341,000

31.9%

6

NSW

Wee Waa

$218,000

$167,000

30.4%

7

WA

Port Hedland

$1.28 m

$1 m

26.4%

8

SA

Whyalla Playford

$286,000

$228,000

25.4%

9

NSW

Hurstville

$931,000

$748,000

24.5%

10

NSW

Bonnyrigg Heights

$522,000

$420,000

24.4%

Source: The Weekend Australian/RP Data

The Top 100 also reflects the declining or stagnant prices in many prestige suburbs with only five suburbs with a median dwelling price of $1 million or more making it onto the list.

They include Cremorne on the Sydney north shore, which ranked 63rd with prices up 14.7% to a median of $1.63 million and Hawthorn East in Melbourne, which ranked 40th with prices up 17.2% to a median of $1.3 million.

The other million dollar suburbs on the list were all in Sydney namely, Connells Point (up 15%, $1.9 million), Russell Lea (up 13.8% to $1.19 million) and Milsons Point (up 16.2% to $1.11 million).

The list includes just one Tasmanian suburb – the scenic township of Cygnet, which ranked 35th with median dwelling values up 17.6% – reflecting a 4% fall in median house prices on the Apple Isle over the past year.

Census 2011 data shows that Dudley is predominantly made up of houses (83.3%) with half of dwellings having three bedrooms and more than a quarter having four bedrooms or more.

The property investment market in Dudley is relatively small with just 22% of Dudley homes available for rent compared to 30% across NSW.

The average monthly mortgage repayment is $1,800 per week with just 8.5% of Dudley residents technically in mortgage stress (mortgage payments are 30%, or greater, of household income) below the state average of 10.5%.

Recent sales around Dudley (post code 2290) include this five-bedroom, two-bathroom house at 49 Oceanview Parade, Charlestown which sold for $442,000 through Cveta Kolarovski of PRDnationwide Newcastle & Lake Macquarie.

It previously sold for $367,500 in February 2008.

Mary Sparkes from Creer Property – Charlestown sold this two-bedroom ground floor unit with garage on Milson Street for $248,000 aimed at the investor market.

Median rent in Dudley is $280 per week, according to census 2011 data, providing an indicative rental yield around 5.9%.

For advice on navigating hotspots, download our free eBook: Tools for Getting Through the Hotspot Maze. This article first appeared on Property Observer.

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