Homework pays off for young teachers

First home buyers Matt and Erin are building a home with all the frills.

The ripple effect of a hot Sydney property market is making an impact two hours away in the bustling port city of Newcastle.

The trend is pushing up home prices in Newcastle, where the median price for houses in the Newcastle CBD topped $1 million for the first time this year¹.

More than $6.5 billion is currently being invested in new regional infrastructure bringing a big increase in jobs, particularly in health, education and social services, and attracting a new wave of homeowners to the region.

The result has been a big stimulus for emerging residential communities on Newcastle’s outskirts, which offer some of the best real estate deals in New South Wales.

The chance to pick up a new block of land, with permanent views, for under $220,000 was too good to resist for teachers Matt Leleu, 25, and his partner Erin Theoret, 27, who have recently purchased in Defence Housing Australia’s Wirraway community, at Thornton.

The young couple searched Newcastle for their first home before settling on a 615 square metre lot at Wirraway and the chance to build a four-bedroom family house with all the frills.

‘The alternative was an older three-bedroom house or townhouse that needed work,’ Matt said. ‘We have two big dogs that couldn’t be couped up in a courtyard and we have no time to spend on renovations.

‘When we saw what we could get for the price here at Wirraway it was an easy decision. Now we get exactly what we want without having to do it up.’

Matt and Erin met when they were both teaching at a local primary school, near Maitland. Erin has now moved to Medowie and Wirraway is halfway between the two.

‘It’s a really convenient location but also quiet and peaceful compared with a lot of the other new estates,’ Matt said. ‘We love to eat out and spend our free time together and everything we want is very close.

‘Erin was surprised. There is a perception that we are a fair way out but we timed the drive and it is less than 30 minutes to the middle of Newcastle.

‘Best of all, a lot of our new neighbours will be Defence families, and it’s great to know you can have confidence in your neighbours and that the area will be well looked after.’

Built by award-winning developer Defence Housing Australia (DHA), Wirraway covers 58 hectares and will eventually be home to 500 families. Half the lots will be used to provide attractive, modern homes for Defence members and their families while the remainder will be sold to the private market.


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