The cost of the average home in Maitland is poised to break through the half million dollar mark.
The median price in the Local Government Area (LGA) is sitting at $480,000 thanks to 3.6 per cent market growth in 2019, residential real estate performance data obtained by PRDnationwide Hunter Valley shows.
That took place alongside a downturn in the greater Sydney and NSW markets in the same period. The growth is expected to continue this year and send the average Maitland property price to the $500,000 mark in 2020 or next year, depending on demand.
"If we see 3.6 per cent growth again this year, which is an extra $17,280, or even 4 per cent growth, we will go very, very close to it," PRDnationwide Hunter Valley real estate agent James Hannah said.
"It may tip over the $500,000 mark this year. In 2021 we will definitely see it going there."
The strength of the Maitland market is making the city a promising acquisition for families and investors.
The Maitland market grew by 3.6 per cent in 2019 while the greater Sydney market lost 6.4 per cent and the NSW market declined by 3.4 per cent.
"Maitland didn't go backwards from Sydney taking a hit, it went forward. The last quarter of 2019 in Sydney was very good and Sydney could have a bumper year this year. That's going to be good news for Maitland because it will get the flow-on effects," he said.
East Maitland remains the most popular suburb, along with Thornton and Metford.
Lorn, Morpeth and Bolwarra are also proving to be popular.
"Maitland is still the fastest growing regional Local Government Area in the state. People are coming here looking for jobs and because of the lifestyle we have here," Mr Hannah said.
We're two hours from Sydney and half an hour from the second biggest city in the state. That puts us in a very good position.
"East Maitland is popular because of the services. In one suburb there are two train stations, a bus route, Stockland Greenhills, a new hospital close by and it's only a 5 minute drive to Morpeth. It's got it all.
"There are homes making over $1 million in Rathluba and there are more affordable ones from $400,000 to $450,000."
Investors are also reaping the rewards of taking ownership of property in the LGA.
The average rent for a house in Maitland is $430 per week and, based on that figure, landlords are collecting an extra 2.4 per cent more rent money than they were a year ago.
There were 454 houses rented in the Maitland LGA in the fourth quarter of 2019, which is 4.6 per cent more than that period in 2018.
The rental vacancy rate in Maitland, which is homes unoccupied, is also strong. It is 1.8 per cent - half the rate in the Sydney metro area. The Hunter region rate is also 1.8 per cent.
There were 143 units rented in the fourth quarter of 2019, which is up 1.4 per cent on the same period in 2018.
The average cost to rent a unit is $343 per week - 0.7 per cent higher than 2018.
"The rental price increase we have seen is reasonable. Rentals don't increase in price as rapidly and the price depends on a lot of factors," Mr Hannah said.
"We've got half the vacancy rate of Sydney, half the price tag and we've got positive growth.
"There's a lot of reasons to choose Maitland and that is just some of them.
"The long-term market trends are looking very positive. For people who want to buy, buy now."