Data released by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) has revealed that while residential rents in WA continue to climb, property values are in a state of decline.


The REIWA figures, which relate to the June 2007 quarter, show a median property value in Perth of $463,000 – down from $470,000 in the March 2007 quarter.


REIWA president Rob Druitt said the price decline of a “very modest” 1.5% was in part due to increased activity from first homebuyers in the market.


"REIWA's sales evidence, which captures 75% of the market, indicates the overall median house price has retreated marginally as the market returns to more normal conditions," Druitt said.


"Since the state government effectively did away with stamp duty for first homebuyers in May, we’ve seen the steady return of this group to the market.


"As a consequence, there’s been a greater turnover of homes at the cheaper end of the market, and this has had the effect of pulling the overall median price down a little.”


The data was slightly skewed by increased first homebuyer activity, Druitt said, which also contributed to a 15% increase in sales.


"This was also the experience in the September quarter of 2004, when the state government initially introduced stamp duty relief for first homebuyers. At that time, sales volume jumped 18% whilst the overall median retreated by 1.2%," Druitt said.


Druitt said that the June quarter results also showed a very sharp jump in rents for metropolitan Perth.


The median rent for units in the March quarter was $255 per week, while houses were $280 per week, giving an overall median rent for Perth of $270 per week.


"However, the June quarter has seen a sharp jump in metropolitan rents with units leaping to $280 per week and houses to $300 per week, giving Perth a new median rent of $290 per week," Druitt said.