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September 19 2022

The Optimists Guide to Investing in the Hunter Region

The short and decisive explanation– The Hunter Region is Australia’s largest regional economy, with access to world-class beaches and wineries, favourable demographics, and major infrastructure projects recently built, and plenty still to come. For the longer and more elaborate version...

The Hunter economy is valued at over $60 billion. Just two-hours’ drive north of Sydney, the region’s picturesque, lush vineyards, wildlife reserves and world-class restaurants help to attract well over two million visitors each year. The Hunter is supported by excellent connectivity to major markets via the Pacific Highway, the Sydney-Newcastle railway, the Port of Newcastle, and Newcastle Airport. Adding to this physical infrastructure is the regions internet access. With 80% of residents connected to the internet, this makes the Hunter a more ‘global’ regional centre than we’ve ever seen before, and has given rise to the area’s growing WFH economy.

‍The Hunter has been home to diverse but traditional industries, most notably advanced manufacturing, aerospace, defence, tourism, and mining. But as alluded to above, the promise of a more idyllic lifestyle, together with the amenities of modern living, has created an environment in which the ‘knowledge economy’ can thrive.  A dynamic start-up sector has developed in The Hunter, while the NSW government’s investment in infrastructure, including the rollout of Australia’s most integrated IoT (Internet of Things) platform across Newcastle and surrounding areas, will no doubt facilitate future endeavours. 

‍Other important contributors to the region’s economy are the leisure and hospitality industry – The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest wine growing region and remains one of its premier locations – and tourism, which injected nearly A$3.0 billion into the region in the year ending June 2019, with a 4.2% annual increase on average in visitor numbers since the year ending June 2010. 

‍The Hunter Region’s sustained economic growth is predicted to rise nearly 75% by 2036.  Approximately 322,000 jobs currently stretch across the region, and with growing infrastructure in the works, the number of jobs is predicted to increase 19% by 2036.

New projects with enormous potential to add to this capacity include:

  • $1 billion Sydney-Newcastle rail upgrade
  • $763 million energy infrastructure upgrade 
  • $780 million John Hunter Health Precinct redevelopment 
  • $509 million Muswellbrook Coal Mine
  • $73 million Hunter Water Upgrade

‍The number of residents who call the Hunter Region home is set to increase significantly. The NSW government’s planning portal predicts growth in the key areas of Newcastle, Cessnock, Maitland and Lake Macquarie by 175,600 people over the next 25 years. As well as job opportunities brought up by the key infrastructure projects above, The Hunter Region is exceptionally liveable. Noteworthy natural sites include the pristine bays of Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie, while the Barrington Tops National Park and Myall Lakes National Park provide breathtaking scenery for those with a flair for outdoors and adventure. The local arts and culture scene, as well as globally famous food and wine experiences, offer a diverse range of recreational options. 

‍Supporting the population growth requires new investment in residential and mixed-use developments. The atmosphere is electric and exciting upcoming projects will add to the already diverse local industry, and enhance further collaboration between the private and public sector. Add to this a potent mix of spectacular natural beauty at the cutting-edge of innovative technology, booming infrastructure, rising population growth, and affordable but desirable living, and the Hunter Region ticks all the boxes for necessary for optimism.

The final verdict? The Hunter Region is alive with opportunities for investors.