A new report has investigated the reasons why out-of-towners are drawn to relocate to Wollongong.
Property valuation and advisory company Herron Todd White's latest report looks at movements and trends within both the commercial/retail and residential property markets.
The report looks at how movements among the population are affecting communities and driving the demand for property.
According to Herron Todd White's South East NSW residential director Chris McKenna, out-of-towners are drawn to the Wollongong area given its proximity to Sydney and its relative affordability compared to Sydney's property markets, coastal lifestyle, transforming employment opportunities and well-regarded university.
"Significant transformation has taken place in the city in the past five to ten years with a shift towards apartment living and improved transport links to the wider region," he said.
"The ABS advises that approximately 20 per cent of Wollongong workers commute at least 50 kilometres to work, which is one of the highest rates in the state."
The report also notes that first home buyers priced out of the Sydney market have taken to Wollongong and signed up for the commute.
"At its shortest, Helensburgh is a 50-minute train ride to Central and from Wollongong it is a 90-minute journey," Mr McKenna said.
"Given that a lot of Sydney's suburbs experience hour-long commutes to the CBD, Wollongong's more affordable property prices hold appeal.
"Similarly, second or third home buyers and downsizers are able to cash in on their large equity gains in their Sydney properties and get more bang for their buck in the Wollongong market."
Mr McKenna also noted that suburbs north of Wollongong hold most appeal to those moving down from Sydney, and local agents will advise that the majority of Wollongong properties with a price tag over $2 million will have a large amount of interest from Sydney-based purchasers.
Commercial - retail
Commercial director Scott Russell said sales transactions in the Wollongong office sector have slowed over the past 12 months, mirroring the trend of the broader commercial real estate market across regional NSW.
He said the slowdown is coming at the end of a buoyant three years where record sales prices were achieved resulting in yield compression across the board. He said this is exemplified by the sale of 90 Crown Street, Wollongong in late 2018 for $50.38 million.
"The slowdown in investment sales over the past year is attributed to several factors including the Banking Royal Commission, state and federal elections, volatility in the global markets, downturn in the housing market and just the normal market cycle.
"There is optimism that recent interest rate cuts will spur activity with most participants keenly watching to see if this will result in further yield compression in the sector, or if there will be a more permanent reassessment of risk despite lower borrowing costs."