Tuesday 15 Jul 2008
July 15th, 2008 – Sydney – Leading residential agency, McGrath Estate Agents, today announced the opening of a new regional office at Warners Bay on the NSW North Coast. It is the first office in a totally new market for McGrath, which has been expanding rapidly in its existing key markets in Sydney over the past two years since it announced its premium national franchise roll-out.
John McGrath, Chief Executive of McGrath, said Lake Macquarie was an ideal location for a regional franchise as it is one of the premier lifestyle locations in NSW.
“Lake Macquarie is a very exciting regional centre and a major strategic choice for our growing national franchise network,” Mr McGrath said.
“It offers a fantastic lifestyle for young families as well as the increasing number of baby boomers moving into the area for retirement, many of them from Sydney.”
The Lake Macquarie property market has experienced tremendous price growth over the past 10 years. According to RPDATA, median house prices in Lake Macquarie have almost tripled since 1998, from around $125,000 to around $330,000 today. The ongoing sea change/baby boomer movement has contributed significantly to the rising demand for housing, with 22% of the local population above the age of 60, according to 2006 ABS Census data. The 60-plus age bracket is also the fastest growing age bracket in Lake Macquarie.
“Statistics like these demonstrate the rising popularity of northern NSW coastal locations such as Lake Macquarie for retiring baby boomers,” Mr McGrath said.
Lake Macquarie is the largest city in the NSW Hunter region and the fourth most populous city in NSW, outside of Sydney. The local population is expected to rise by up to 70,000 by 2033, creating demand for 36,500 new homes.
Mr McGrath said a large proportion of this population growth would be retiring Sydneysiders heading north. “McGrath already has an exceptionally strong presence in Sydney following 19 years of operations. Our Warners Bay office will now be able to more effectively market local properties to a highly qualified and motivated audience of Sydney baby boomers.
“This has been our experience with our Central Coast office, which opened in 2005. We have a registered buyer database of 27,000 people and this is a brand new buyer pool for the Warners Bay team. Lake Macquarie vendors are really going to benefit from having a local McGrath office, utilising such tools as our award winning website to help maximise exposure for our vendors’ properties.”
Lake Macquarie is a 90-minute drive from Sydney, 10 minutes from Newcastle and 40 minutes from the Hunter Valley and Central Coast. The Newcastle Airport at Williamtown is 25 minutes away, with daily services from Sydney.
The Warners Bay office, previously an LJ Hooker franchise that has been operating since 2005, will service suburbs within Lake Macquarie and Newcastle including Warners Bay, Toronto, Belmont, Charlestown, Hamilton and Merewether.
Co-Principals, Anthony Di-Nardo and Diana Apostolovski, said the decision to join McGrath was an easy one. They bring 10 other staff members including three other salespeople, Joel Soldado, John Fahy and Susan Dalby, and three property management specialists, Cheryl Skene, Sarah Scott and Elizabeth Hite.
“We are thrilled that the McGrath network is expanding into regional NSW, and we’re honoured to be the network’s first regional office,” Mr Di-Nardo said. “McGrath is synonymous with excellence in real estate. We support the core principle of six-star customer service and we’re looking forward to offering our clients new marketing systems and tools, such as the award-winning website and marketing templates.”
Mr. Di-Nardo said Lake Macquarie was a beautiful area with the beach and lake, excellent schools and more than 100 recreational facilities including cycleways, sporting grounds, netball and tennis courts and equestrian facilities.
“Retirees love it here, and we’re seeing more and more of them coming from Sydney,” he said. “They are such a big proportion of the population now and the council has been proactive in catering to them with initiatives such as the free seniors activity program, which includes Tai Chi in the park, internet lessons, concerts and lawn bowls tournaments. We may have grown into a significant urban hub, but Lake Macquarie has retained that special country character, and we’ll never let it go.”
The McGrath Warners Bay office is located at 1/452 The Esplanade, Warners Bay. The telephone number is 02 4944 5600.