Market Report Western Australia - (April 2009)


Perth has seemingly started to move off from a previous bottom, with some lower end properties showing price growth

As the first property market to fall in the most recent cycle, logic would have it would be the first to pull out as well. That may soon become the case, as the early indications are that Perth's property prices are slowly edging up with a push coming from the bottom.

"The good news is the market has stabilised," says Rob Druitt, president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA).

The REIWA reported in its March quarter figures a 40% increase in total dwelling sales from December, going from 8,900 to 12,600.

"In the second half of 2008, the market was basically paralysed," says Druitt. "We're now returning to a more normalised market."

Joseph Popic of Joseph Popic Real Estate in Tuart Hill says he's noticed sales prices around Perth in the lower end especially increase by as much as 3% to 5% on average. Some of that was fed by a sense of urgency when it was believed the boost to the first homeowner grant would end. When it was extended, things have remained steady, but Popic says he's not sure yet how long that will last.

While there has been some slight increase in the median house price, that's not any reason to expect a boom coming anytime soon. But what it does is illustrate a shift in the gloomy mood that had permeated throughout the Western Australia market to something a little more positive.

Druitt says that while other states in Australia might be still stuck in a bit of a lull, it's important to remember Perth has been in its slump longer, and running on a different schedule the rest of the country's property market.

He predicts the Western Australia market will remain stable but flat over the next 12-18 months, following a typical market cyclical movement. One of the most important indicators to be optimistic, he says, is the drop in stock level. From a height of 18,000 properties in Perth for sale in 2008, it's dropped to 15,000 in the March quarter, and then down to 14,300 in April. The long term average is 12,000.

"We're tracking in the right direction," he says. "It's narrowing the gap between buyers and sellers."


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