AN influx of young professionals is driving an Orange real estate boom which flies in the face of the city’s rising house prices.
The average house price has risen 5.7 per cent over the December, 2016 quarter and 8.6 per cent over the year, with the median house price sitting at $368,000, data from the 2017 Domain Regional House Price Report showed.
Rents have also risen 6.3 per cent over the year, with a median price of $340 per week.
But those figures are still dwarfed by property costs in Sydney and coastal centres like Wollongong and Newcastle, leading would-be home buyers to cast their eyes across the Blue Mountains.
Jenna West and her husband Winston are among the many young professionals who have decided to move to Orange.
Having lived in Sydney for seven years, the couple were faced with the decision of where to settle down on their return from a stint in London and eventually decided against big-city life.
“When we were having the chat about where to move home to, we decided we couldn’t afford the life we wanted in Sydney,” Mrs West said.
“We knew we wanted to buy a house, we knew we wanted to have kids. We were considering Tamworth and Dubbo, but in the end we literally just picked Orange.”
“You can still have the lifestyle that comes with Sydney – you can eat well, go to nice cafes, go to wineries. It just ticked all our boxes,” Mrs West said.
Mrs West has noticed a very big contingent of young professionals moving to Orange from Sydney.
They can earn a similar salary but it’s a much cheaper area to live, according to Josh Fitzgerald, the principal at One Agency.
“Unemployment went down a significant amount last year – from 7 per cent to 4.5 per cent – which is excellent for the town,” he said.
“We now have a labour force of more than 22,000.”
Mr Fitzgerald has noticed a mix of different age groups drawn to the town, including a lot of young families.
“They want space and a large block. A lot are looking at semi-rural blocks,” he said.
Domain’s chief economist Dr Andrew Wilson says that a recent revival in the local economy has brought new life to the market.
“It’s almost irresistible in terms of it’s value,” he said.
“It offers a lot in terms of local infrastructure, amenity and proximity to Sydney. It’s a very lovely place.”