Mining slowdown hits Maitland rental returns

The effect of the mining slowdown is seeping into the Hunter Valley rental market with rental returns curbed in Maitland during the past year.

Real estate agency PRDnationwide has released its latest property watch report for the local government area, with varied results for Maitland.

While the average weekly rent for a three-bedroom house grew 2.8 per cent, the price had flattened over the past nine months at $350, according to The Maitland Mercury.

The report said the slump in coal prices and the mining slowdown had impacted the investment market.

“[Maitland’s] property market has historically been buoyed by a strong coal industry, generating employment and demand for new and existing houses,” it said.

“However a recent decline in coal prices has slowed mining activity and increased market uncertainty.

“Property investors who bought in anticipation for a study supply of mining-related tenancies have experienced extended vacancy periods and little growth in rent prices in the past six to nine months.”

The report pointed to the completion of the Hunter Expressway as the cause for vacancies rising in Maitland since September 2012, when employees working on the expressway left.

But PRDnationwide Hunter Valley principal Luke Anderson said Maitland has a wide economic base that will support its property market as a whole despite the mining slowdown.

“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.”

The real estate agent’s research analyst Oded Reuveni-Etzioni said buyers were still keen on buying houses in Maitland, especially in the 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.”

A property report by the Surat Basin Property Group earlier this year found Western Downs communities were under immense rental pressure, like Moranbah.

The report said there was a shortage of residential accommodation in the area, which would worsen as CSG projects increased.

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