Mining downturn good news for housing in Hunter Valley

Renters and buyers are said to be benefiting from the mining downturn in the Hunter Valley as more properties hit the market.

According to a statement by the NSW Government earlier this year, new housing in the Hunter Valley was required to double keep pace with mining expansions in the region, putting a squeeze on the region’s rental housing.

Demand for permanent accommodation was expected to rise from 360 dwellings a year to more than 700, and in the short term an extra 725 temporary rooms in hotels needed to be found.

The Government made the predictions based on a 60 per cent rise in mining production from the area.

However, with the sector facing a downturn, and large-scale job cuts, it is expected that the housing crisis will ease.

Rio Tinto subsidiary Coal and Allied has laid off more than a dozen workers at the Bengalla coal mine in the Hunter Valley while Yancoal has made 18 miners redundant at its Ashton coal mine, with another 90 expected to lose their jobs.

State Upper Hunter MP George Souris said there was evidence that the downturn was easing the pressure on real estate, the ABC reported.

"Coal prices worldwide have fallen and the coal companies have reduced employment," he said.

"They have reduced application of contractors and I can assure you in the Upper Hunter there are quite a few for lease and for sale signs going.

"I don't think real estate is anywhere near its peak as it was some time ago."

Souris said while it was bad news for employees, it made it easier for potential tenants to find housing.

"The mining industry has reduced its workers and that has, I guess, had the double effect of taking pressure off real estate, but also there is a considerable stock now on the market," he said.

"I don't think prices have fallen as much as you would expect but the number of properties that are available for lease or for sale have increased quite considerably."

Image: commerce.wa.gov.au

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