Armidale – the university town promising big things for investors

For many years university students have flocked to the northern NSW time with big dreams, and now, strong recent property market performances have attracted droves of investors to Armidale.

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Tucked away right in the heart of NSW’s New England region, Armidale is one of the area’s richest historical towns with a past brimming with gold, found in the nearby Rocky River, which inspired a gold rush during the town’s formative years in the 1850s.

The region was recently one of four NSW suburbs named in the highly coveted Smart Property Investment Fast 50 ranking for 2024.

The report and ranking combined the insights of a 14-strong investment expert panel and recent housing performance drawn from open source data, and it aims to give unparalleled insight into the Australian suburbs that are set for future growth.

A culturally vibrant town surrounded by untold natural beauty, Armidale lies just an hour and a half from the nation’s country music capital, Tamworth. The beating heart driving the region’s vibrancy is the University of New England, in the town’s north-western corner, which consistently attracts thousands of university students to Armidale each year, threading their unique blend of intellect, history, and culture into the town of just under 24,000 people.

Such is the prominence of the town’s student cohort; the most recent census revealed the dominant age in Armidale is 20- to 24-year-olds, who account for 8.8 per cent of the town’s population. By comparison, the same age bracket accounts for 6.1 per cent and 6.2 per cent of NSW’s and Australia’s populations, respectively.

For investors, the region presents a perfect opportunity to enter a market constantly flooded with a supply of budding renters and new residents, with CoreLogic reporting the region’s median home value began the year at approximately $509,000, with average annual growth equating to roughly 5.5 per cent.

On the rental front, landlords in the region can charge tenants an average rent of around $430, while gross rental yields sit at around 4.3 per cent.

According to one of Australian real estate’s heavyweights, Angus Raine, the “savvy” investors in NSW’s New England region “will have their radars focused squarely on the housing market in Armidale where capital growth of 5 per cent to 8 per cent is possible as more overseas students return to the university town”.

At the beginning of the year, the Chinese government announced that academic degrees and diplomas would no longer be recognised where the studies are undertaken online, a decision that spurred a mass influx of over 40,000 students onto Australian shores.

Speaking highly of the region, Mr Raine shared that Armidale’s economic strength is underpinned by its “educational, agricultural, retail, government, and professional services”, outlining how “these industries and the regional growth hub’s emerging digital sector provide vital jobs that will underpin capital and income growth”.

Also supporting the region’s prospects is the fact it boasts the highest altitude commercial airport in Australia, which ensures strong transport links to other regional and metropolitan Australian locations.

Late last year, Armidale was announced as one of the five Australian regions expected to benefit from the nation’s clean energy boom, with the region and nearby Tamworth expected to deliver up to $10 billion in private sector investment, resulting in 830 operational jobs and over 1,200 construction jobs.

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