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.
Apologies for the tardiness of this update on the local market, but I have been delaying it deliberately hoping that I’d be able to report some positive numbers after several quarters of falling property rents and values.
September’s final numbers from Landgate and REIWA reveal the number of property transactions throughout Perth fell back 10 per cent for houses and 18 per cent for units on the June quarter figures. Sales volumes remain subdued but so do stock levels, dropping gradually throughout 2017 to settle at 13,036 metro-wide at the end of September. This is about the long term average level of supply considered representative of market parity although supply has crept up again to be at near 15,000 listings this week.
Median house prices remained stable for the quarter reported to be $515,000 up (yes up!) from the June quarter by 1 per cent. Preliminary data for November reports the median at $520,000 – another rise!
Trade-up activity is increasing as demand for higher valued properties begins to increase as supply in these markets reduces. Much of Perth’s supply is concentrated in outlying areas where there’s been too much new building activity such as Baldivis, Bertram, Alkimos and Ellenbrook.
Fremantle’s median house price remained stable for the 12 months ending 30th September across all her suburbs registering zero growth for the year. Beaconsfield dipped 2.8 per cent for the year as did Hilton, down 3.2 per cent on 68 sales and White Gum Valley surprised by returning a median of $675,000 down 4.6 per cent on a year ago. Bright spots were North Fremantle, up 10.4 per cent, East Fremantle up 4.9 per cent and the red-hot-popular South Fremantle rose 4.3 per cent over the year.
We have noticed that Fremantle’s 6160 housing stock itself has been less desirable of late so the dip of 9.8 per cent in median house price is unsurprising.
The apartment market across Greater Fremantle improved in the September quarter with a 3.6 per cent lift in median unit prices clawing back some of the losses over the past twelve months. Overall, apartment prices have dipped 10.8 per cent in median terms in a year.
The rental market has been steady for several months now with Perth’s overall median rent of $350 per week unchanged for nine months. The overall median rent in Fremantle is $430 per week, down $10 on about a year ago with leasing activity and vacancy rates steadily improving in recent months.
The market has transitioned with the “bottom” having already passed us in certain sectors of the local market. There’s solid demand in trade-up suburbs like White Gum Valley, Beaconsfield, South, North and East Fremantle with moderate price gains expected in these areas next year. It will be interesting to see how the market behaves come mid January 2018.
by Hayden Groves
REIA Deputy President