First home buyers busy in September quarter

Stock image.
Stock image.

THE first-home buyer market put in a strong showing in the September quarter, with the latest statistics from REIWA showing half of all transactions occurred in the lower end of the market.

REIWA president Hayden Groves said early Landgate data showed house sales activity in the $500,000 and below price range had lifted by 12 per cent on the 2016 June quarter.

“First-home buyers recognise that now is a great time to buy in Perth and are taking advantage of more affordable prices and lower interest rates to secure their first property,” he said.

According to the latest ABS housing finance data, first-home buyer loan activity remained at consistent levels, with first-home buyers making up about 20 per cent of total loans financed for the three months to August 2016.

“From December quarter 2015, various affordability measures have shown that housing affordability is improving in Perth,” Mr Groves said.

“The June quarter REIA home loan affordability indicator, which measures the proportion of income required to service a loan improved, and the housing component of CPI eased.”

The increase in the volume of house sales below $500,000 put downward pressure on the September quarter median house price, with the preliminary median coming in at $509,000.

This was expected to rise to around $520,000 once all sales for the quarter had settled.

The opposite trend was observed in the unit market, where an eight per cent increase in activity in the price range above $450,000 was recorded, resulting in the preliminary median unit price increasing to $427,000, up from $408,250 in the June quarter.

The preliminary sales volumes for the State came in at 5630 for the three months to September and was expected to lift to around 8400 once all sales had settled, putting volumes slightly lower than the previous quarter by around six per cent.

Listings were steady, with the total number of properties listed for sale sitting just above 14,000.

“While this remains above the long-term average, it’s pleasing that the usual surge of spring listings has failed to materialise, keeping listing levels more-or-less commensurate with demand,” Mr Groves said.

The number of Perth sellers needing to reduce their asking price in order to sell dipped in the September quarter by around three per cent, while the average number of days it took to sell in Perth increased by three days to 68 days.

In Perth’s rental market, tenants continued to benefit from reduced rents, with the overall median rent falling slightly to $373 per week, down from the revised June quarter median rent of $380.

Rental listings dropped 2.8 per cent in the three months to September, down to 10,709 from 11,017 in the previous quarter.

The average time to lease a property in Perth increased by three days, and the vacancy rate lifted to 6.6 per cent, however leasing activity remained positive, with a 12 per cent lift recorded over the quarter.