After a subdued start to 2016, activity is expected to increase in Melbourne’s property market in the coming months according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV).

With prices remaining relatively stable in the city during the March quarter and the city finally getting a solid stretch of time between public holidays, the REIV believe both buyers and sellers will increase their activity in the near future.

“The moderate market will allow many more owner occupiers, including some families, strong opportunities to get a foothold on the property ladder,” REIV chief executive officer Enzo Raimondo said.

“Traditionally March is one of the strongest months for property sales with high auction volumes and listings. This year has been slower, mainly due to the consecutive Labour Day public holiday, followed by Easter and the school holidays – pushing many auctions and private sales into late April and May,” Raimondo said.  

According to the REIV, Melbourne’s median house price remained stable at $713,000 during the March quarter, while apartment prices fell 1.8% in the March quarter to a median of $525,500.

While acrtivity is expected to increase across Melbourne, REIV president Geoff White said the city’s outer suburbs are set to see the biggest increase as their affordability and strong growth prospects prove attractive.

According to White, suburbs such as Epping, Caroline Springs and Werribee have all performed strongly recently.

“Epping and Bentleigh East recorded growth of 10.8% and 9.9% respectively. The only suburb within 10km of Melbourne within the top three suburbs was Malvern East, which delivered quarterly growth of around 13 %,” White said. 

“Other outer suburbs delivering high quarterly growth were Langwarrin, Doreen Rowville and Keysborough. In fact, twelve of the top 20 growth suburbs were in outer Melbourne. This signals continuing buying demand for homes in the city’s outer suburbs, as homebuyers look for value further from the CBD in the current market,” he said.

According to the REIV’s figures, the median house price in Melbourne’s outer ring – that is, more than 20km from the CBD – came in at $557,000 over the March quarter.