PORT Macquarie is the state’s fastest growing centre.
But 458 new dwellings will need to be built here annually for the next five years to cope with the forecast swell in population.
A new report, Australia on the Move – released by the Residential Development Council – ranks Port Macquarie as 13th in the top 20 biggest growth areas across the nation.
The town is expected to increase in population by 35 per cent by 2027 – from 43,655 to 58,888.
Guy and Suzi Satterthwaite and their sons, Hamish, 4, and James, 2, are among those moving to Port Macquarie for the lifestyle and opportunities.
The Satterthwaite family had considered New Zealand, Orange, Queensland and Tasmania, but settled on Port Macquarie six months ago.
“I call it the 10-minute town because everything is 10 minutes away,” said Mr Satterthwaite who has his own business, Olive Communications.
“It’s 10 minutes to town, 10 minutes to the airport, 10 minutes to the beach and 10 minutes to the Pacific Highway.”
Mrs Satterthwaite said she loved the friendly, generous community spirit of Port Macquarie.
Residential Development Council executive director Caryn Kakas said housing needed to increase significantly in towns like Port Macquarie to meet newcomers’ needs.
“As Australia On The Move reveals, our population is expected to continue to swell, which will only add stress to the housing supply/demand mismatch,” she said.
“Limited supply and rising demand can only lead to one thing – rising prices.”
The 400ha Sovereign Hills site, at Thrumster west of Port Macquarie, is expected to cater for some of the demand for new homes.
The $1 billion project by Lewis Land Group will feature 3000 homes, catering for 10,000 people within 15 years.
Sovereign Hills’ sales and marketing manager, Tony Berry, said the residential development would play a “major part” in the growth of Port Macquarie over the next decade.
Construction of the first 90-home residential release, Sovereign Views, and the retail component and display village is due to begin within six weeks.
“We have made very, very substantial sales out there,” Mr Berry said. “Everything we build in the first six to nine months is effectively significantly sold out already.”
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council’s economic development manager, Trevor Sargeant, said the Hastings’ Urban Growth Strategy was planning for such population growth.
“We are certainly providing for that population to occur in places like Sovereign Hills, Area 14 between Bonny Hills and Lake Cathie, ultimately in Area 15 in Lakewood (west of Laurieton) and a degree of further urban consolidation in areas of Port Macquarie as well,” he said.
Mr Sargeant said he had been “surprised” to see Port Macquarie ranked as the fastest growing place in NSW.
“I think that’s very exciting from an economic viewpoint because residential population growth brings with it a lot of jobs just to service the needs of the growing population,” he said. “It’s not only once-off stuff associated with construction.”
On the move ...
* New housing approvals in Greater Port Macquarie in 2008: 308
* Two per cent increase on 2007 housing approvals
* Total value of residential approvals: $97.9 million