INVESTORS are being urged to put money into bricks and mortar in 2011 to take advantage of flat property prices and rising rental returns.
It comes as a Newcastle real estate agent predicted an increasing number of Novocastrians will buy property through self-managed super funds this year.
"The coming year is undoubtedly going to be one of opportunity for astute investors - and now is the time to buy," Australian Property Investor magazine deputy editor Vanessa De Groot said.
She said a flat market, in which sale prices were expected to grow slowly and were unlikely to fall combined with rental growth, could be an opportunity for investors.
"In addition to unwavering property prices in 2011, investors will be privy to hot buying opportunities with potential bargains on offer, improving rental returns and they'll be able to reap profits by seizing opportunities to renovate," Ms De Groot said.
The Newcastle Herald reported on Saturday that investors in the Hunter were shifting their gaze from beachside suburbs to areas along the planned Hunter expressway and Northern Lake Macquarie.
Dalton Partners' sales manager and director Anthony Merlo expects buying through self-managed super funds to be the next push from investors. Late last year, in conjunction with Hamilton's 2020 Financial Solutions, Mr Merlo held a seminar on the topic for about 60 clients, many of whom have since bought property using their super.
"Property values have never retreated as quick in value as most share portfolios did through the heat of the global financial crisis," he said.
"It gives the savvy investor that already deals in shares in their fund another investment strategy to have a more balanced fund."
He said self-managed super funds could be used to borrow up to 70 per cent of the property purchase price. Buying through a fund could also be more tax effective than buying privately, with rental income even tax deductable in some cases.