Friday, December 18, 2009

REIWA announces $475k median house reached

Press release from REIWA:

Perth housing back at peak prices
16 December 2009

Perth's median house price is heading back to the peak level it achieved in December, 2007 according to preliminary research by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

REIWA President, Alan Bourke, said the Institute' figures were showing that strong sales turnover among more expensive homes was pulling the metropolitan median price back up to $475,000.

"It's really quite amazing what can happen in a year and to see how effective the Commonwealth's stimulus strategies have been. This time last year the median sale price had fallen to $420k," Mr Bourke said.

Latest data from the Office of State Revenue show that the market is weaning itself off the First Home Buyers Grant with applications for established grants falling from 1,513 in September to 1,230 in November.

Current data for October and November indicate that dwelling sales have maintained a similar level for the past eight months despite fewer first home buyers.

"First home buyers have been replaced by trade-up buyers purchasing more expensive properties. Our data indicate that sales in the more expensive price ranges increased noticeably during October and November, with the $600,000 to $750,000 range showing the strongest rise, followed by the $750,000 to $1 million and the $1 to $2 million range.

"By contrast, there was just a small increase in sales turnover in the more typical $450,000 to $500,000 range of homes," Mr Bourke said.

Mr Bourke said that while there is increasing investor activity in the more affordable end of the market which is replacing first home buyer activity, it had not been sufficient to halt a fall in turnover in all price ranges below the median.

"Homes under the median price have seen a decline in sales during October and November when compared to the September quarter".

"Stock is being replenished as quickly as it is being sold, with the availability of property for sale increasing marginally over the past two months, lifting from 11,200 properties at the end of September to 11,500 at the end of November," Mr Bourke said.

In a show of increasing confidence in the new housing sector the number of blocks of land on the market has fallen from just over 2,000 in September to around 1,750 in November.

"We have seen building approvals increase across the year and recent data from the ABS are showing that new dwelling starts increased by 13.8 per cent in the September quarter," Mr Bourke said.

According to REIWA the local rental market has seen very little movement in the rental vacancy rate, currently sitting at 4.6 per cent. This is down marginally from 4.8 per cent in September but is still above average for Perth.

"While there is a lot of rental stock on the market looking for tenants the overall median rent in Perth of $360 per week has remained steady at that level since December last year.

"All of these indicators suggest the local housing system is operating at normal levels with some capacity to absorb any additional demand that may be generated from the improving economic outlook over the coming 12 months," Mr Bourke said.

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