Latest data shows house prices are steady, but sales are up

Reiwa

Preliminary analysis of reiwa.com data for the 2015 March quarter shows the Perth median house price is holding steady at around $550,000.

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* Remember, ‘median price’ is simply a representation of where buyer activity is taking place. It is not directly representative of the rise or fall of property prices. Wayne Heldt.

President of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, David Airey, said modest falls or zero-growth was found across most metropolitan areas with the exception of houses in Mundaring and Kwinana which had some positive movement.

“We also saw a noticeable pick-up in turnover through the north-west and southern parts of Wanneroo, along with Gosnells and Rockingham,” Mr Airey said.

Units and apartments

Units, apartments and villas across Perth experienced a 10 per cent lift in sales activity but with a slight fall in price.

“These multi-residential dwellings dipped around one per cent or $5,000 to a median of $440,000, although more positive results were found through West Leederville, North Perth and Crawley,” Mr Airey said.

Listings

The number of Perth properties on the market climbed from just over 12,000 in the New Year to around 14,500 by mid-March, but fell with a surge in sales later that month to sit at around 13,700 by the end of the quarter.

“This is about 2,000 properties more than the long term average and represents a jump of 36 per cent on the same time last year,” Mr Airey said.

Selling days and discounting

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Days-on-market in Perth also stretched out further, lifting by 11 to 68 days, while the number of sellers prepared to reduce their price grew from 54 to 56 per cent. Where that happened, the average discount was close to six per cent.

“Of course, that still means 44 per cent of sellers either achieved or surpassed their asking price,” Mr Airey said.

Turnover

Some 11,300 properties sold across the state in the quarter, this was up by four per cent from the December quarter, but down by 11 per cent on the same period last year.

Regional WA outperforms Perth metro

“For the first time in a while the market performed better outside the metropolitan area, with the median house price in the regions lifting by two per cent to $390,000. Regional units and apartments also lifted by just over three per cent to $340,000,” Mr Airey said.

Rental market

In Perth, the rental market has started to show the predicted downturn which wasn’t evident early in the year but is now more observable.

“The vacancy rate lifted to 4.4 per cent, well above a preferred three per cent equilibrium and bringing the median rental price down by $10 to $430 per week.

“Typically, this breaks down to $450 per week for a house and $420 for a unit.

“There were 6,604 rentals looking for tenants and the average time to lease a property stretched from 33 to 36 days. REIWA property managers are reporting very low levels of enquiry from prospective tenants, and many owners are reviewing their asking rents to attract and maintain good tenants,” Mr Airey said.

First home buyers

First home buyer activity was up a little on the same time last year with 4,600 grants paid out to entry-level buyers, but down by about five per cent on the December quarter.

However, Mr Airey said the purchasing bias towards established homes had gone.

“Last year there was a roughly 60-40 split with a first home buyer preference towards established homes over new-builds. This year the split is almost even, with first home buyers choosing established homes and new constructions in roughly equal numbers.

“In terms of market share, it looks like first home buyers have fallen to 21 per cent of the established market during the quarter,” Mr Airey said.

March quarter overview

“All up it’s a pretty steady market, but we are likely to see the impact of slowing population growth, accompanied with a flush of newly built homes, as we track the market through the traditionally slower winter months that lie ahead,” Mr Airey said.

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