Hunter house prices have been more immune to the coronavirus than many in the industry were predicting.
Data issued on Monday show only a modest 0.3 per cent drop in house prices in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas in May.
The figures provided by property analysts CoreLogic show prices in the rest of the Hunter fell 0.5 per cent.
Newcastle property agent Scott Walkom said sellers and buyers were more cautious and fewer houses were for sale, but the market had not fallen off the cliff some analysts had forecast.
"I don't think we're seeing any panic selling from vendors," he said.
"Prices seem to be holding. There's probably less stock around, which is helping the market sustain prices."
CoreLogic said more houses sold last month in the Hunter than in April last year, though the most recent data was a "forecast series" which was likely to be revised.
Across the Hunter, 910 houses and 190 units sold, up from 723 houses and 110 apartments a year ago.
Property Council Hunter director Anita Hugo described the market as "fairly buoyant when you consider the climate we're in".
In Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, house prices have risen 0.8 per cent over the past three months and 7.4 per cent in the past year, though they are 2.2 per cent below their May 2018 peak.
The city's apartment prices have been slower to recover from last year's correction and are up only 2.4 per cent in the past 12 months to sit 8.5 per cent below their April 2018 peak.
"Once we've emerged out of lockdown everything seemed to come back very quickly," Mr Walkom said.
"There was an initial lot of people looking for bargains, but that seems to be back to more people thinking, 'Oh, it didn't fall 30 per cent like everyone predicted.'"
His firm had a rental vacancy rate of only 1 per cent.
"We're not having the dramatic reductions in rents that Sydney are getting.
"Rents [in Sydney] are going from $750 a week to $600 a week just so they can get a tenant.
"We don't have that effect of the migrants and we don't have the amount of foreign students as Sydney, or even the number of airbnbs."
His firm had few tenants on rent-relief programs.
"There was some people thinking about doing that, but then the government did JobKeeper and it cemented the whole market again and people just carried on."
Sales volumes fell by a third in Australia in March but rose 18 per cent in April.
CoreLogic analyst Tim Lawless said the end of government stimulus packages in September could give another jolt to property prices.
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