Upper Hunter's Muswellbrook might not be quite so "kevlar-clad"

Upper Hunter's Muswellbrook might not be quite so
Upper Hunter's Muswellbrook might not be quite so "kevlar-clad"

Muswellbrook, in the New South Wales Upper Hunter, has been ranked as one of the country’s 24 “Kevlar-clad areas” that have not experienced backward movement in median price in the last 10 years. The report drew from data compiled and analysed by research house Residex.

Muswellbrook, a mining town 243 kilometres northwest of Sydney’s CBD, has seen steady growth in median property prices over the last decade, according to a report from the August edition of property investment magazine Australia Property Investor.

“It’s been excellent over the last 10 years, prices haven’t decreased, as it’s such a strong mining and agricultural area,” Jay Shepherdson, licensee of JTS Realty, told Property Observer.

John Flood Estate Agent Muswellbrook’s director Sandy Warburton, who has been dealing with Muswellbrook real estate for 18 years, agreed.

“Generally speaking, there hasn't been negative growth while there's been ups and downs in other places. We don't see great surges from year to year, but steady growth over time, over the last fifteen years,” Warburton said.

Warburton warns the figures are purely based on median house prices. He notes that buyers should also be mindful of other costs such as stamp duty and agent fees.

“People may find if they've bought and sold in a period of 12 months, that other costs make their sale unprofitable,” Warburton said.

In addition, both Shepherdson and Warburton said the Muswellbrook property market has slowed in the last six to 12 months.

“The market itself is down a little bit, probably down about 5% because a lot of the contractors have been put off before Christmas, leading up to the election,” Shepherdson said.

Warburton added that growth in the top and bottom ends of the Muswellbrook market has plateaued, while “medium-priced properties are still turning over.”

Movement in the market is currently dominated by first-time home buyers as well as investors.

“Vacancy rates have increased a little in the last six to twelve months, from under 1% to 3-4%, which is a little bit of a turnoff for investment.

This has allowed for homeowners to return to the marketplace as competition is not there from investors driving the price up.

Homeowners normally buy (properties) around the median price. With the slowdown in investment, it gives first homeowners a bit of a chance.” Warburton said.

Shepherdson added that investors who own rental properties in the area have been selling their properties, while “cashed-up” investors as well as locals who are looking to upgrade have been purchasing properties in Muswellbrook.

However, an investigation by Property Observer found properties which defy these optimistic figures.

A two-bedroom unit at 2/27 Mitchell Street (pictured below) sold in May this year for $210,000. Prior to this sale, it sold in 2008 for $206,000, reflecting a $4000 price growth over five years, according to RP Data records.

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The unit has also been listed for rent three times this year. It was listed in May at an asking price of $250 per week, in June for $310 per week, and in July for $290 per week, according to RP Data records.

It was also listed for rent in January 2011 at an asking price of $250 per week, with an increase in asking price in December that year to $260 per week.

In 2009, the asking rental price was $230 per week, according to RP Data records. 

Another two-bedroom unit at 6/6 Skellater Street sold in February this year for $130,000, according to RP Data records. Prior to this sale, it sold in 2009 for $123,000, reflecting a price growth of $7000 over 4 years.

It has also been listed for rent since 2011. The asking rent in 2011 was $320 per week, and grew to $360 per week in 2012. It was just listed for rent in August this year at an asking price of $250 per week, according to RP Data records.

In addition, a three-bedroom house at 8 Maitland Street (pictured below) sold in April this year for $170,000. Prior to this sale, it last sold in 2009 for the same price according to RP data records – reflecting no price growth over four years.

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It was listed for sale in October last year at an asking price of $175,000, and spent 202 days on market. It was also listed for sale in March 2008 at an asking price of $180,000, and spent 539 days on the market, according to RP Data records.

As of the 2011 Census, Muswellbrook has a population of 11,791 people, with over 20% of them working in the coal mining industry. Coal mining as well as agriculture have traditionally dominated Muswellbrook’s industries.

Properties that have recently sold in Muswellbrook include:

1 Jarrah Place (pictured below), which sold earlier this month for $425,000 through John Flood Estate Agents Muswellbrook. Prior to this sale, the house last sold in 2008 for $425,000, in 1996 for $205,000, and in 1990 for $19,000, according to RP Data records.

It was listed for sale in October last year with a price guide of “mid-high $400,000s”, and spent 246 days on the market. It was also listed for sale in April 2008 at $439,000 and spent 231 days on market, according to RP Data records.

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Another house that sold recently was 36 Anzac Parade. The three-bedroom house (pictured below) sold for $198,000 through Premium Real Estate Services Muswellbrook in May this year. Prior to this sale, the house last sold in 2009 for $106,000, according to RP Data records.

It was listed for sale since December last year for $204,900, and spent 137 days on the market. It was also listed for sale for 33 days in January 2009, according to RP Data records.

The house has also been listed for rent at an asking price of $240 per week in May 2010, according to RP Data records.

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Properties that are currently on sale in Muswellbrook include:

2/39 Woollybutt Way. The three-bedroom townhouse (pictured below) is currently listed for sale at $159,990 through LJ Hooker Muswellbrook.

It last sold in 2010 for $155,000, according to RP Data records. It was also sold in 2006 for $140,000, in 2002 for $65,000, in 1994 for $78,000, and in 1992 for $80,000, according to RP Data records.

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Prior to this listing, it was also listed for sale in May 2010 for $165,000, and spent 103 days on the market, according to RP Data records.

In addition, it has also been listed for rent. In 2009, the asking rent was $200 per week, while in 2008 the asking rent was $190 per week, according to RP Data records.

The three-bedroom house at 74 Acacia Drive (pictured below) is currently listed for sale at $339,000 through JTS Realty Muswellbrook. 

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It last sold in 2003 for $178,500 according to RP Data records. It was also sold in 1998 for $120,000, and in 1991 for $83,000, according to RP Data records.

Terry Ryder of hotspotting.com.au recently commented on "bulletproof suburbs" in a piece published by Property Observer, stating that "nowhere is immune to downturns".

According to the latest RP Data report, the median sale price for houses in Muswellbrook is $331,000, up 8.5% on last year. The average discount required to sell a house is 4.7%, while private treaty sales average 89 days on market.

The median asking rent for houses in Muswellbrook is $380 per week, while average rental yield currently stands at 6%.

The median sale price for units in Muswellbrook is currently $292,500, with no change on last year. The average discount required to sell a unit in Muswellbrook is 8%, while private treaty sales average 60 days on market.

The median asking rent for units in Muswellbrook is $360 per week, while average rental yield currently stands at 6.4%.

Diane Leow

Diane Leow

Diane has spent her entire career in the world of digital. She is passionate about delivering the best content to a world that is becoming increasingly jaded by the news. She also believes in the importance of great journalism and how it can change the world. Oh, she also drinks a lot of coffee.

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