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Newcastle commercial markets surge on back of share market volatility and DIY super fund demand

July 1, 2016

Media release - 1st July, 2016

  • Strong demand for commercial property in Newcastle priced below $2 million
  • Owner-occupiers are buying commercial premises through SMSFs
  • Investors are seeking the safe haven of Newcastle commercial property buoyed by infrastructure injections such as the University of Newcastle’s $95 million education precinct and the Doma Group’s $36 million commercial, residential and retail complex

Owner-occupiers and investors are combining to drive demand for commercial property in Newcastle priced below $2 million, according to Steven Dick, Co-Principal of Raine & Horne Commercial Newcastle.

“The current rules let Self-Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) purchase a business premises, allowing owners to pay rent directly to their SMSF at the market rate,” said Mr Dick.

“Savvy Newcastle business owners are taking advantage of this ruling, along with historic low interest rates, to drive up demand for office, retail and industrial space.

At the same time, smaller retail spaces are leasing well as microbusinesses take their first growth steps.

“Office and retail vacancy rates in the smaller size ranges have shrunken dramatically in Newcastle, which is a very strong sign that we’re operating in a healthy market,” said Mr Dick.

NewSpaceInvestors are proving to be a strong buying bloc in the Newcastle commercial marketplace.

“Investor demand is unprecedented, with tenanted properties being snapped up almost as soon as they hit the market,” said Mr Dick.

“Around 50% of properties up to $2 million are selling to investors prior to auction. Under the hammer sales are proving to be the best way to sell Newcastle commercial assets.”

More investors are rebalancing their portfolios away from shares and fixed interest, according to Mr Dick.

“Many investors have recovered their positions over the last 8 years since the GFC, and they want to protect this position by diversifying. As a result, they are hedging their bets by investing some of their hard won capital into Newcastle’s commercial real estate markets,” he said.

Investors and business owners are also recognising the long-term opportunities that will be delivered by massive mixed use developments such as the University of Newcastle’s $95 million education precinct, NeW Space, in the heart of the Newcastle CBD.

“NeW Space will bring thousands of law and business students to Newcastle and it will re-energise the city centre,” said Mr Dick.

“There is also the Doma Building in the Honeysuckle precinct, which is a $36 million commercial, residential and retail complex, which is in the early stages of construction. This development will be a major plus for Newcastle when it’s completed in 2017 along with the University.

“There are 3 or 4 other major developments in the pipeline that will create more commercial space and feed into the student accommodation market, as well as provide options for first home buyers and downsizers who are moving in increasing numbers to the CBD.”

Industrial assets are also enjoying a period of strong demand, with owner occupiers leveraging low interest rates and self-managed super funds acquiring places of business.

“There have been a couple of larger industrial enquiries from interstate companies looking for alternative marketplaces to ply their wares,” said Mr Dick.

“Big industrial is starting to return to Newcastle but it’s a slow take up.”

For all your commercial sales, leasing and property management needs in the Hunter region, contact Raine & Horne Newcastle on 02 4915 3000.


For further media information contact:

Steven Dick, Co-Principal, Raine & Horne Commercial Newcastle on 0425 302 771

Andrew Harrington, National Communications Manager, Raine & Horne on 02 9258 5400