Why the Upper Hunter property market screams untapped potential

15 June 2024

By Brad East | CEO

For many, the Upper Hunter property market looks like another normal patch of rural countryside with busy small towns.

But if you look a little deeper you find this region has much more to offer.

Excellent infrastructure, a wide range of industries and stunning views paint a promising picture.

However, with housing in this area also much cheaper than surrounding regions, this collection of thriving communities creates the perfect place to live and commute to larger cities like Newcastle or Sydney.

So what is there to discover in the Upper Hunter property market?

Upper Hunter Profile

For many, the Upper Hunter region generally covers the areas surrounding the early stretches of the Hunter River north of Newcastle. The region itself mostly falls into 4 LGAs:

  • Dungog Shire
  • Muswellbrook Shire
  • Singleton Shire
  • Upper Hunter Shire

No matter where you go across the region, the look is overwhelmingly similar. Rolling hillsides sprawling away from the Great Dividing Range with busy towns providing lively communities to live in.

Many of the towns in the industry have ties to both livestock and the coal mining industries. However, it has grown into a much more diverse region which has become a hub for wineries as well as a burgeoning tourism industry.

You will find that many of the larger towns such as Muswellbrook and Singleton are excellent hubs as they straddle the early stretches of the New England Highway. Furthermore, other major roads such as the Golden Highway provide access to other major rural communities further along the state.

This comes alongside excellent railway connections with multiple stations straddling the Main North Line which connects Sydney to Brisbane. All this comes with the average house in many towns falling under $600,000. So where are some of the best places to buy in the Upper Hunter region?

Upper Hunter Property Market Trends


Singleton is very much the centre of its community.

The main town of Singleton Shire, it sits as one of the first communities many people hit as they head north-west from the Greater Newcastle Area. This town of just over 24,000 has excellent connections to other major centres. It sits on the early stretches of the New England Highway providing access to both Newcastle, Tamworth and Armidale.

It also has a direct rail connection to major cities such as Newcastle & Sydney making it an ideal hub for commuters.

When it comes to buying property, the average house price in the town is $600,000 (June 2024) marking a decline from the town’s peak of $660,000 in November 2023. The average three-bedroom house price sits at $562,500 making this one of the better options for families looking for a quieter lifestyle.

Whilst house prices have dropped, unit prices have grown tremendously in recent times. In June 2024, the average unit price sold for $430,000 – 16.2% compared to June 2023. These figures are also double what unit prices were in the town in the pre-COVID boom. It showcases a strong demand in one of NSW’s most overlooked towns for a property steal.

Population: 24,719

LGA: Singleton Shire

Average House Price: $600,000

Average Unit Price: $430,000

Average Rental Price: $530 p/w


Very few towns have been able to transform themselves quite like what Muswellbrook has.

This small town has changed from relying on coal mining to becoming a multi-faceted community. Not only has it become the main base for the Hunter Valley wine industry but also several artisan cafes that highlight many produce grown on surrounding farms.

Its position on the New England Highway boasts excellent road connections across the state and the town also has direct rail links to both Newcastle and Sydney.

Despite all of these traits, house prices in Muswellbrook have remained lower than in surrounding towns. The average house price is valued at $492,500 with even the average four-bedroom home being sold for $550,000 – a $200,000 drop compared to other nearby towns like Singleton. Unit prices are also much cheaper with the median price being $295,000 in June 2024.

This marks a steady 9% drop compared to a peak value of $340,000 in June 2023. Despite that slight drop though, Muswellbrook offers a great place for young families to get on the housing market and is one of the more accessible towns in the Upper Hunter property market.

Population: 16,000

LGA: Muswellbrook Shire

Average House Price: $492,500

Average Unit Price: $295,000

Average Rental Price: $480p/w


Even though it is one of the area’s smaller towns, Denman has seen a huge surge in interest in recent years.

Much of this comes down to the town’s excellent location in the region. Its place on the Golden Highway gives it direct links to major rural centres like Dubbo and Newcastle.

Furthermore, it is close to several national parks with both Wollemi National Park and Goulburn River National Park both within 30kms from the town.

All these close links give Denman plenty of room for growth in the coming years. And this has been underlined by the surge in house prices in recent years. Prices have increased by a whopping 27% between June 2023 and June 2024 here the average price sits at around $510,000. It showcases a great bargain for a town that continues to grow in both popularity and value in recent years.

Population: 1,821

LGA: Muswellbrook Shire

Average House Price: $510,000

Average Rental Price: $500 p/w


When it comes to Scone, only one thing comes to mind: horse racing.

The town is known for being home to several champion stables that have bred champion horses across Australia. Yet this claim to fame is just the start of the town’s character. It is home to several heritage buildings and its place on the New England Highway makes it a popular visit for passing tourists.

Throw in direct connections to Newcastle, Tamworth, Dubbo & Armidale by road and both Sydney & Newcastle by rail and this is a town that has everything going for it.

With its strong connections and thriving industries, Scone has seen property prices rise steadily in recent years. After hitting an average peak of $600,000 throughout 2023, the average has fallen to $570,000 in 2024.

Small families will revel with three-bedroom houses generally going for cheaper than average selling at $430,000. With this being considerably lower than other towns in the area, it makes Scone a great place for a young family to settle down.

Population: 5,013

LGA: Upper Hunter Shire

Average House Price: $570,000

Average Unit Price: $313,500

Average Rental Price: $530 p/w


Murrurundi is one of the more picturesque towns in the Upper Hunter region.

The entire town is surrounded by the Liverpool Ranges giving dramatic vistas no matter where you look. Murrurundi also straddles the New England Highway giving this small town excellent links towards the Greater Newcastle area.

It has also a steadily rising property portfolio. It has one of the fastest rising price averages in the Upper Hunter property market comparing 2023 to 2024. Where the average house price was just $275,000 in January 2023, it has since risen by 47% to $441,000 in June 2024. This staggering rise puts Murrurundi into one of the hottest towns in all of the Hunter Region to live in.

Population: 9454

LGA: Upper Hunter Shire

Average House Price: $441,000

Average Rental Price: $430 p/w


On the western fringes of the Hunter Region, the town of Merriwa feels like a classic country town.

Still very much a farming town, Merriwa has a small thriving community that is kept going by its placement directly on the Golden Highway. As the halfway point between Newcastle & Dubbo, the town often gets as much business from passing tourists as it does residents.

Property prices in Merriwa have fluctuated in recent years but the average house price has risen steadily to reach an average of $410,000 in June 2024. For families looking for a bigger home, Merriwa is a bargain of riches.

This comes with the average 4-bedroom home selling for $440,000 – just $30,000 more than it would take to purchase a 3-bedroom place. This makes the town perfect for families looking to leave the city behind and settle for a quieter life in the country.

Population: 5,983

LGA: Upper Hunter Shire

Average House Price: $410,000

Average Rental Price: $350 p/w


Located on the northern fringes of the Hunter Region, the town of Dungog has transformed in recent years. No longer relying on dairy or timber to sustain itself, the town has recently become a haven for culture in recent years.

The Dungog Festival has brought new eyes to the town thanks to its burgeoning film competitions and art collections.

All this attention has made Dungog one of the more expensive places for property in the Upper Hunter. The average house price in the town sits at around $605,000 as of June 2024 but this is a drop of 5% compared to the peak price of $650,000 in October 2023.

Remarkably, families will find themselves better off buying a 4-bedroom home compared to a 3-bedroom home. This is down to the average 4-bedroom house selling for $640,000 compared to 3-bedroom houses selling for around $672,500. It showcases why Dungog has become one of the pricier areas of the Upper Hunter property market in recent years.

Population:  2,943

LGA: Dungog Shire

Average House Price: $605,000

Average Rental Price: $467 p/w


When it comes to discovering the Upper Hunter property market, it’s not hard to see why the area has become so appealing.

Lively communities across the region have translated across to buyers wanting to settle in the area. Towns like Muswellbrook and Scone offer great value for money particularly given their excellent road and rail links.

In some towns such as Dungog and Merriwa, buying a larger property saves money compared to buying a smaller property. It’s these little trends that make the Upper Hunter property market one of the most varied in all of New South Wales. 

To seek out the best options for purchasing a home, speak to a Wise Buy Home Lender for guidance today.

Our Maitland property experts can give you all the advice you need to work out the best way to get on the property ladder today.

Visit our Maitland team today to see how they can help you find a home in one of New South Wales most underlooked regions.

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