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One state bucking the housing affordability trend

By Tim Neary
4

The easing of property prices in one Australian state puts it in a unique position with home buyers, according to its peak real estate body, making home ownership more accessible now than it has been in the last 10 years.

Home ownership is still accessible in Western Australia, according to REIWA, supported in large part by the Barnett government’s transfer duty exemptions for first home buyers paying up to $430,000.

According to REIWA’s latest industry findings, Perth’s first home buyer market recorded healthy activity levels in the June 2016 quarter, with the bulk of sales transactions occurring in the $350,000 to $550,000 price bracket.

Equally, it also found an improved affordability across both houses and units in the same period.

Perth’s preliminary median house price fell 1.4 per cent to $522,500 in the three months to June, while the median unit price dropped a full 6.9 per cent to $406,000 from the revised March quarter median of $436,000.

“With the bulk of transactions occurring in Perth’s lower quartile, it’s not surprising that house and unit medians have come in lower over the quarter,” REIWA president Hayden Groves said.

The industry body also found a significant decline in listing volumes in the June quarter, with the number of properties for sale in the metro area dropping 7.3 per cent to 14,159, from 15,269 in the March quarter.

“While home buyers and investors can be choosy in this market, it’s pleasing to see signs of stability, with listing numbers declining in the three months to June,” Mr Groves said.

Preliminary sales volumes for the state came in at 5,858 for the three months to June.

Also, days on market were two fewer in the June quarter, with the days on market average reducing to 64.

And, indicating sellers are better understanding market conditions, the number of vendors having to discount asking prices has reduced: “Homes that are priced correctly for the market from the start are selling quicker,” said Mr Groves.

However, he acknowledged “some challenges” for Perth’s rental market.

Listings for rent exceeded 11,000 in the June quarter, and leasing activity declined five per cent.

“It is apparent those vendors not able to reach their desired selling outcome have now chosen to list their property for rent, a circumstance attributing to the increase in rental stocks this quarter,” Mr Groves said.

This has resulted in downward pressure on rent prices.

House and unit median rent prices dropped $10 each over the quarter to $395 and $365 per week respectively.

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