WA Election: Real estate experts tip post-poll property market boost

With a day left until WA heads to the polls to decide who will lead the State, property experts are optimistic of a post-election boost to the market.

ACTON chief executive Travis Coleman said elections historically had a negative impact on the real estate market as buyers tended to hold off making big financial decisions until a result was known.

“The property market is built upon confidence and unfortunately elections create an element of uncertainty amongst buyers,” he said.

Industry experts forecast a lift in the property market after West Australians go to the polls.Industry experts forecast a lift in the property market after West Australians go to the polls. 

“If we have a clear result on Saturday (for whichever major political party), this will give people confidence of a clear political direction for the State over the next four years.

Mr Coleman said there were growing signs the WA economy was recovering, with the latest economic growth figures for the December 2016 quarter showing positive economic growth for the first time since mid-2015.

“So this State election could be the last obstacle towards a noticeable recovery in the Western Australian property market,” he said.

Property valuer Gavin Hegney expects buyer confidence to rise.Property valuer Gavin Hegney expects buyer confidence to rise. 

“If the election results in a government with a clear working majority after election night, this should encourage more buyers into the property market.

“When buyer activity increases following the election, then sellers will be more encouraged to list property for sale.”

Property valuer Gavin Hegney said in the lead-up to any election there were many different groups, who via the media speak of great problems within their field and blame the government.

“This sets up a negative news cycle, that attacks confidence,” he said.

“Once the election is over there becomes media fresh air to focus on other topics and stories, many of which can be a bit more positive.

“That’s why post-election, confidence tends to lift. Property in WA will be a direct beneficiary of this, especially given that the market in Perth is in its fragile infancy stage of recovery.”

LWP Property Group managing director Danny Murphy said the pre-election period impacted differently on the various market segments.

“For first homeowners who represent 50 per cent of LWP’s market, the election is not of great significance,” he said.

“However, given it can affect the decision making of other segments, it will be beneficial to have the election done and dusted.

“In looking ahead, given confidence is the major factor for the Western Australian community, stability around government is fundamentally important to the recovery process. What the industry can’t have at this delicate stage of the cycle is a lack of leadership and uncertain policy direction.

“Also, the elected government needs to recognise the importance of property to the West Australian economy and the ability of the industry to respond quickly with the right policy settings.”

A home-open sign in a front yard.Travis Coleman: “This State election could be the last obstacle towards a noticeable recovery in the Western Australian property market.” 

Real Estate Institute of WA president Hayden Groves said the market was already showing signs of recovery and did not think the outcome would encourage buyers and sellers who might have been holding off.

He said there were big differences in Labor and Liberal’s policies when it came to the housing market.

Mr Groves said he was disappointed with Labor’s pledge to introduce a 4 per cent surcharge on foreign buyers of residential property.

He said just because it was done in the eastern states did not mean it was suitable for WA.

“If they had engaged with us we could have told them it was a silly idea,” he said.

“The market is only just showing signs of recovery in Perth and we are concerned it could stifle growth and affect construction jobs.

“Also Labor have not made any commitment about not touching property tax.”

If re-elected, the Liberals have committed to transfer duty reform for seniors.

Seniors will benefit from a $15,000 transfer duty concession which Mr Groves said would ease a big burden.

“Transfer duty creates a significant barrier for seniors over 65 on fixed incomes who are looking to change their lifestyle or downsize,” he said.

“The cost of transfer duty on a median house price of $520,000 is $18,715, which is almost equivalent to the entire annual standard aged pension of $20,745.40.

“The $15,000 concession the government have committed to, which is capped at $750,000, will make a substantial difference to those seniors looking to “right size” into more suitable accommodation, and will help address the issues of housing affordability, choice and liveability.”

The WA Labor party has pledged to ensure the long-term viability of Keystart, a State Government loan assistance scheme designed to help those who might otherwise struggle to get a loan, such as public housing tenants or people with a disability.

LJ Hooker regional manager Ken Preston said some parts of the marketplace could be cautious in the lead-up to a state election, but housing had largely been left out of the debate.

“There’s a perception that State Government elections can change the outcome of property markets – but major issues such as housing affordability and interest rates are beyond the influence of state governments,” he said.

Mr Preston said the current market was probably the most affordable seen in WA for the past three elections.

“The market has seen a significant correction, especially at the top end. Buyers and sellers at the bottom end of the market have assumed that because there has been price pressure at the top, there must be the same at the entry level and investor segment, which is not necessarily the case,” he said.

Mr Hegney said there was already a “pulse in the market” in the near-city prestige suburbs.

He said entry-level and upgrade buyers frustrated by a lack of good choice of available homes were taking advantage of a drop in interest rates and were starting to turn to renovation, and even new builds.

“This will drive the land values and result in a lift of price in the year ahead, irrespective of who wins the election,” he said.

“This is a traditional start to a market cycle which then ripples to further parts of the market that may still be experiencing hardship today, namely the rental and investor markets and the building industry.”


Article by: Lisa Calautti
Images by: Opium Rabbit, Ajupp @ Thinkstock,  Mike Watson Images

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *