The Hunter Valley property market began in 2020 positively, with a lot of market activity and some decent sales.
The fundamentals of our property market remain strong and we expect once the coronavirus passes the property market will pick up once again.
A strong start to the year
In real estate, the stretch over Christmas and January is usually known for being the quietest time of the year. But there was nothing quiet about Singleton’s property market over late 2019 and early 2020.
While the rest of the country went into holiday mode, we were still working hard. There were 119 sales over December 2019 and 117 sales in January 2020, according to realestate.com.au. These volumes continued into February when 109 properties sold.
These numbers showed a level of confidence in the Singleton market, with 2019 proving a solid year.
Lifestyle driving relocations
One statistic that stood out to us was that Singleton was listed as one NSW’s most searched for locations for rural properties. This is consistent with what we’re seeing in the market – that our area is becoming increasingly popular as an area for lifestyle buyers. These are often established families or established couples who want to leave the rat race behind and are attracted by the opportunity to own a smallholding within striking distance of a major metropolitan centre such as Newcastle.
On top of this, young families and first home buyers both remain a serious force in our market. The latest figures from September 2019 show that unemployment within Singleton Council is just 4.2% compared to a national average of 5.2%. When combined with an average house price of $379,000 compared to Sydney’s average of just over $1 million – the quality of life here is undeniable.
Although recent interest rate cuts to a new record low of 0.25% have been designed to further stimulate the economy more broadly, they also serve to enhance Singleton’s relative affordability compared to most parts of the country.
Hunter Valley continues to be favourite for investors
The Hunter Valley was once again singled out as a property hotspot by multiple publications. In January 2020, Property Observer named Singleton as one Regional NSW town that potentially offered investors better value than the Sydney metropolitan market.
One reason for this is that Singleton offers a rental yield of 4.75% for houses, 5.96% for townhouses and a very healthy 7.09% for units, according to realestateinvestar.com.au. The national average of 4% for units and 3% for houses.
The high yields are being driven largely by a vacancy rate of just 1.13%.
The impact of coronavirus
Despite the solid start we had to 2020, it’s impossible to talk about where the market is right now without mentioning Covid-19.
At the time of writing, non-essential services have closed, with pubs, clubs, restaurants, gyms and entertainment venues all shutting down. This will have a profound impact on Hunter Valley residents, given that so many of us are employed in these important and affected sectors. The ban on large weddings, in particular, will have an impact in the winery regions, with only a handful of guests allowed to attend.
Our hope is that the current conditions lift in a reasonable timeframe and that the pause to the market isn’t a long one. All of the conditions we highlighted above – affordable prices, access to urban centres and employment opportunities and a quality lifestyle – mean the fundamentals of the Singleton market should stay strong.
In the meantime, we’ll be following the new advice on running open homes by appointment only and increasing our use of tech with virtual tours, and remote auctions where necessary. We’re only a phone call away and hope you and your families stay safe.
We expect to see the market come to life again.
Want to know more about the state of the local market
Find your ideal home in the Hunter Valley region by contacting One Agency Lindy Harris today.