Disclaimer: These comments are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the current opinions and policies of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.
December’s quarterly numbers from Landgate and the Real Estate Institute reveal the number of property transactions throughout Perth have picked up an impressive 41 per cent on the September quarter preliminary numbers. However, once all the numbers are in, volumes remain remarkably low compared to the fifteen year average. Overall, sales volumes have more than halved compared to a decade ago; extraordinary considering our population growth and increase in housing stock over the past ten years.
Median house prices remained stable for the quarter preliminarily reported to be $520,000 but this is off by 3.7 per cent from last year. The median price for apartments fell for the quarter by 4.7 percent, giving up last quarter’s gains. The composition of the market had 46.5 per cent of house transactions for the quarter selling for less than $500,000 – demonstrating first home buyers remain active although this figure is down from 53 per cent last quarter. Sales composition is changing with 10.8 per cent of house sales over $1,000,000 up from only 8 per cent last quarter, indicating that trade-up activity is increasing.
Fremantle’s median house price remained stable for the quarter across all suburbs. Beaconsfield crept up 0.7 percent for the quarter and East Fremantle rose 2.1 per cent across 13 house sales. All remaining local suburbs dipped during the quarter by modest amounts or were stable with zero growth. Across 2016, all Fremantle’s suburbs aside from White Gum Valley and O’Connor experienced a fall in median house price.
The apartment market has not faired any better with an overall 12.4 per cent fall in median price in all measured local suburbs. South Fremantle did best with a moderate 1.8 per cent dip with East Fremantle at the other end of the scale reporting a 24.5 per cent fall in apartment medians over 46 sales.
Seller sentiment in and around Fremantle has deteriorated with a 6.7 per cent gap between listing price and selling price. 37 per cent of all sellers need to discount from their original list price to sell down from 43.1 per cent twelve months earlier. Local stock have stabilised with only 2.9 per cent fewer listings than last year and it takes an improved average of 51 days to sell in and around Fremantle, 9 days faster than a year ago.
The rental market continues to be pressured but locally, Fremantle leased 17.7 per cent more properties leased compared to last year. The overall median rent in Fremantle is $410 per week, 15.5 per cent lower than last year and on average it takes 47 days to find a Fremantle tenant, 11 days longer than just a year ago with 17.6 per cent more properties listed for rent than last year.
Overall, “more of the same” from last quarter although the composition of the low number of sales is of most interest indicating that buyers are looking to trade-up through the market.
by Hayden Groves
REIA Deputy President