The housing market in the local government area of Maitland is akin to a tale of two cities.
The lower lying area of Maitland has experienced negative capital growth of -12% in the last twelve months whilst East Maitland, which lies only 5km away, has seen a 6% growth in the past year. It’s not known if this can be attributed to negative public sentiment, in reaction to the Queensland floods earlier this year, seeing as Maitland sits on a flood prone region.
But property valuer Leigh Mather, of Herron Todd White Newcastle, suggests the negative growth is only temporary.
“It’s a funny old market, but we are seeing more supply coming into the market all the time,” he says. “Places like Rutherford, Raworth and Aberglasslyn, which are just west of Maitland, have had new land releases and you’ll find that many workers from nearby mining areas are buying into these lots and building brand new homes.”
Maitland is 35km north-west of Newcastle in the Hunter Valley region, and only a 90-minute drive from Sydney. It has direct access to three major highways being the New England Highway, Pacific Highway and the Sydney to Newcastle link. The long-awaited Hunter Expressway is also currently under construction, leading to more traffic being diverted away from the Maitland area, improving quality of life.
There are two main shopping districts in Maitland, with a third on its way in Rutherford, consisting of three supermarkets and various other specialty retail outlets. There are a total of thirty three schools in the region, and Maitland also boasts public and private hospitals and various other health care facilities catering for the young and old.
Maitland has enjoyed a healthy population increase in recent years, on the back of significant infrastructure spending and the mining industry. The period between June 2008 and June 2009 alone saw an increase of 1.80% or 1,236 new residents. This influx of new citizens has the vacancy rate at a tight 2%.
With median house prices at $242,500, Maitland is definitely affordable. And rental yields are between 6-7%, indicating a solid demand for housing. Renters make up 26% of the market.
Vacant land sales show a 31% increase from the March 2009 period to July 2010, which is equal to 200 transactions, according to PRD Nationwide figures. Average annual growth remains solid at 11%.
Maitland has a diverse economy, with key industries being mining, agriculture, manufacturing and construction. Construction in particular has picked up in the west of Maitland. The area is a part of the government’s Vision 2020 Project, and will benefit from the construction of industrial and community infrastructure.
Although some areas of Maitland have shown negative growth in the past twelve months, indicators point to a resurgence in house prices, based on rising population numbers, and driven by the continued strength of the mining and construction sectors.