Buyers in Perth seemed to have turned to less-expensive properties in February; 49% of the sales in the city were for properties below $500,000.

CoreLogic’s Home Value Index showed that prices in Perth dropped 1.5% to $438,952 over the month, and data from the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) revealed that the lower end of the market was favoured during the month.

“Almost half of all transactions occurred below $500,000 in February, which is a trend we’ve observed for the last three months. When we take a closer look, 32% of sales last month were between $350,000 and $500,000, while 17% were below $349,000,” said REIWA President Damian Collins.

The results also indicate that first-home buyers were active in the market, since there was a greater proportion of activity occurring below $500,000, according to Collins. data showed that there were 13 suburbs that posted sales-activity increases in February. These are Karrinyup, Bayswater, Hamilton Hill, Sorrento, Aveley, Waikiki, Tapping, Morley, Ocean Reef, Mullaloo, Yangebup, Rockingham and Greenfields.

Out of the 13 suburbs, eight had median house prices that are below the Perth median. Karrinyup, Bayswater, Sorrento, Ocean Reef, and Mullaloo were the only exceptions.

REIWA also reported that while the majority of sales in February occurred within the first-home buyer price range, the fastest-selling suburbs were all from the higher end of the market.

Duncraig, Willetton, Palmyra, Doubleview and Padbury, Woodvale, Scarborough, Ocean Reef, North Perth and Sorrento were the 10 fastest-selling suburbs during the month. They all recorded average selling times that were substantially below the Perth average of 76 days.

“Seven of these fastest-selling suburbs have median house prices above $600,000, which indicates buyers need to act quickly in Perth’s trade-up and luxury markets to ensure they secure the property,” Collins said.