NSW’s population is growing, but some places more than others

NSW’s population is growing, but some places more than others

By Jo Chivers
Friday, 14 February 2014

If I told you that a regional NSW city – only a two hour drive from Sydney – has predicted population growth of 42% over the next 20 years, would you believe me?

NSW Planning has released some interesting statistics. They say that the population of NSW will increase by two million people to reach 9.2 million by 2031.

There is a special release of preliminary population projections for 2011-2031 which reveal that many of the states regions will grow – some faster than others.

Some of you reading this will know that I’m a big fan of the Hunter Region of NSW. It’s where I’ve been developing property since 2001. I love the area and continue to study and research it. It’s a vibrant region with a diverse economy. Over time, I’ve narrowed down my focus for property developing to a few cities within the very large Hunter Region.  The areas we work in are very affordable, with good growth prospects.

This week I thought I’d share a great research tool on the NSW Department of Planning’s website.

The NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure is the key source of population analysis and policy-orientated advice for the NSW government. It’s responsible for the development and regular review of NSW official population projections, incorporating information from its Metropolitan Development Program, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Federal Department of Immigration and Citizenship and NSW Health. It also develops household and dwelling projections, which are informed by the future population size and age structure as indicated by the population projections.

In a nutshell, they’ve worked out that NSW is growing.

Their projections show that the state will grow by 100,000 people on average each year until 2031. They have regional growth plans in place for all parts of NSW to better cater for, and support, growth and population change in the regional areas.

The measures being taken by the NSW government to encourage regional development include:

  • Identifying 1,500 more public sector jobs for relocation from metropolitan Sydney to regional areas by 2021, as part of the Decade of Decentralisation vision
  • Creating regional growth plans as part of our new planning system
  • Extending eligibility for the Regional Relocation Grant to long-term renters in metropolitan
  • Increasing NSW government funding to promote regional tourism, boost frontline services and support hospital upgrades in regional communities
  • Providing more than $160 million over four years to mining communities through the Resources for Regions program
  • Supporting new investment in regional NSW through the Regional Industries Investment Fund, which in 2011-12 helped generate more than 1,000 new jobs
  • Furthering efforts to attract people to regional NSW for work through a new $10,000 Skilled Regional Relocation Incentive
  • Extending the Jobs Action Plan, which offers a payroll tax rebate to businesses employing additional staff, to 30 June 2015
  • Allocating 30% of funding from the state’s infrastructure fund, Restart NSW, to regional communities

Check out this link; you can click on any NSW region and it will give you the current population, predicted growth, the main drivers of the growth and a breakdown of the age changers. Let me know if you work out which city I’m referring to.

If history is anything to go by, the Hunter lags the Sydney market. Last cycle, I watched as the Sydney market went crazy with demand, prices increased and investors were priced out. They started looking for more affordable areas to invest in. That triggered the last major growth spurt in the outskirts of Sydney. Indicators show that this time may be looming.

If you combine purchasing and then adding value to property through development – as the market swings upwards – then you’ve hit the nail on the head and can create some good equity in your property.

I’m not the only one touting the benefits of the Hunter Region and agree wholeheartedly with Bernard Salt, leading commentator and advisor on consumer, cultural and demographic trends:

“The Hunter has it all: critical mass in population; a diverse economic base; first-class tertiary institutions; military representation; airport connectivity; local media production and broadcasting; as well as proximity to Sydney.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself, thanks Bernard.

Jo Chivers is director of Property Bloom, which manages property development.

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