While Perth’s property market is showing signs of stability, conditions in the Western Australia capital still lean in favour of buyers.

Analysis from the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) shows nearly half of all sales in the city over the March quarter were for homes at or under $420,000 as first home buyers and upgraders become increasingly active.

“It’s encouraging to see an active first home owner market with 45% of house transactions in the three months to March being in the more affordable sector of the market. This shows that there are more affordable options available,” REIWA president Hayden Groves said.

“As a result, the median price is down for the quarter and I encourage buyers to act now and take advantage of the excellent buying conditions,” Groves said.

REIWA’s figures put the median house price in Perth over the March quarter at $520,000, down 3.7% from the December 2015 quarterly median of $540,000.

The median unit price in Perth during the March quart was $435,000 compared to $436,000 overe the final three months of 2015.

While dwelling values may have slipped over the three months to march, it was a different story for land prices.

The preliminary median land price was $305,000 for the three months to March, up 8.9% on the December quarter. Annually, the land median price has jumped 13.1%. 

Similar to dwelling transactions, buyers are targeting blocks below the median price, with 42% of land sales over the March quarter consisting of lots between 320 and 499 square metres with a median price of $309,000.

“When we break down the figures, we can see a higher demand for smaller lots and that people are paying a premium for them, particularly in inner urban areas,” Groves said.

“We’re seeing a shift from people wanting a larger block to now seeking something that’s more manageable and better suited to their busier lifestyles.” 

According to REIWA, total listings for dwellings and blocks of land 6% to 15,277 in the March quarter, which Groves said was an expected increase.

“We saw listings drop off in the December quarter which is normal for that time of year so it’s not surprising to see an increase, however, listings continue to remain above the long term average. 

“Healthy stock levels give buyers plenty of choice and the opportunity to find their ideal property,” Mr Groves said. 

In total there were 5,852 sales over the March quarter, down from 8,798 in the December 2015 quarter.

On average, houses in Perth took 65 days to sell in three months to March, up six days on the previous quarter and 10 days on the same period last year.

There was also some good news for the Perth rental market in the quarter.

“We saw an increase in the uptake of rentals with 15% more properties leased in the March quarter,” Groves said.

“The uplift in properties leased in the first quarter of the year can be partially attributed to the start of the university calendar and students needing to secure accommodation,”

The number of overall rental listings increased in the Perth metro area by 5% to 9,658.