A downturn in the resources sector has stifled rental returns in Maitland during the past 12 months according to research issued by a real estate agency.
But the city’s broad economic base insulated it from more widespread affects, with the median house price actually rising during the 12 months to March 2013.
PRDnationwide’s latest property watch report for the local government area revealed a mixed bag of results for Maitland.
Despite an overall 2.8 per cent growth in the median weekly rent for a three-bedroom house, the price had plateaued during the past nine months, sitting steady at $350.
The report noted vacancies had increased in Maitland since September 2012 and cited the departure of crews that had finished working on the Hunter Expressway as the cause.
The drop in coal prices and the subsequent downturn in the industry had also softened returns in the investment market according to the report.
“[Maitland’s] property market has historically been buoyed by a strong coal industry, generating employment and demand for new and existing houses,” the report said.
“However a recent decline in coal prices has slowed mining activity and increased market uncertainty.
“Property investors who bought in anticipation for a steady supply of mining-related tenancies have experienced extended vacancy periods and little growth in rent prices in the past six to nine months.”
But the news wasn’t all bad, with Maitland’s median house price rising 2.8 per cent to $370,000 during the 12 months.
PRDnationwide Hunter Valley principal Luke Anderson said Maitland’s broad economic base would hold the city’s property market as a whole in good stead regardless of fluctuations in the mining sector.
“The demographics of the Maitland region are influenced and supported by a varied market and employment base – accordingly we have not been hugely affected by the mining slowdown,” he said.
“We remain optimistic that the local market will offer stable investment value and capital growth in the years to come.”
PRDnationwide research analyst Oded Reuveni-Etzioni said there was plenty of interest in Maitland from buyers, particularly in the more affordable price brackets.
“Our research has shown us that most properties advertised for sale in Maitland LGA were in the $300,000 to $399,999 price point,” he said.
“These more affordable properties experienced short selling periods, but there was also evidence of house enquiries from upgraders and retirees seeking lifestyle purchases at the top end of the market.
“That illustrates continued buying activity at both the bottom end and pinnacle of the price spectrum.”