THE spring selling season is in full swing, with several real estate groups reporting strong sales and increased buyer activity.
Peard Real Estate chief executive Peter Peard said group sales were up 100 per cent from September to October, which was a positive sign spring buyers were out in force.
Harcourts WA chief executive Paul Blakeley said there was definitely a move in the market, with Harcourts offices indicating there was more buyer activity at home opens and strong enquiry in general.
Realmark director John Percudani said the Realmark network had also experienced increased sales and he expected the trend to continue as the market consolidated further.
The growth in sales was attributed to the season and improved market confidence.
“It is partly seasonally driven by sellers and agents who are actively managing listings to come to market at this time, and we expect this will continue over the coming months,” Mr Percudani said.
“The improved selling results are a product of better affordability, stabilising economic conditions including population and employment trends, plus a growing realisation that there is now a favourable window for buyers to secure value and opportunity.”
Mr Blakeley said although there usually was a small spike during spring, there had been a gradual improvement throughout all of 2017.
“Our indicators show that the median house prices across Perth have stabilised over the last couple of months, the rates of decline that we have seen in previous years has slowed and we are turning over more properties than at the same time last year,” he said.
While there was overall market improvement, the experts said sales varied from suburb to suburb, across price points and property types.
There were positive signs areas that had been struggling were starting to recover.
Mr Blakeley said while most Harcourts offices had reported signs of improvement, it could still be patchy.
“Areas such as Canning Vale and the Cockburn region have seen an increase in activity,” he said.
“Other areas such as Scarborough and Kallaroo further north have also shown improved interest.
“There has never been a better time to buy across the whole of Perth. Those waiting for the bottom of the market may want to act sooner rather than later. The tide is slowly turning.”
Mr Peard said the inner-city suburbs were performing well with a shortage of stock, particularly detached properties, however apartments in the areas were still struggling.
“There are several areas 20km from the CBD, which remain quite stable and are turning over properties,” he said.
“In contrast, suburbs such as Baldivis in the south and Butler in the north, are still really struggling.
“Upgraders have been very active in the property market during spring as they understand that higher-priced homes are now selling for below-replacement costs in many areas of Perth and we are also seeing a growing interest by first-home buyers in established homes, especially in the coastal strip between Mandurah and Rockingham.”
Mr Percudani said Realmark offices had seen significant improvement in buyer engagement rates in the first-home and lifestyle markets, mainly driven by affordability and opportunity factors.
“We’ve also seen this with metropolitan prestige properties and second property purchases in areas such as Mandurah and Dunsborough,” he said.
However, he said the rental market was still distressed due to an overabundance of properties to lease and this could impact sales.
“Over the coming months, some of this stock may tip into the sales market which could create an oversupply of sales stock in certain market sectors, and result in increased selling competition and suppressed price growth,” Mr Percudani said.
As to the future, the outlook was positive.
“As Realmark announced at the start of the year, we expect the market to stabilise and for there to be positive notes ahead of a potentially more optimistic 2018 – subject to interest rates remaining low, and population and employment growth improving,” Mr Percudani said.
Mr Blakeley said the market had seen the worst and expectrf a gradual improvement in the new year.
“After a couple of challenging years, there is a more positive vibe in the market,” he said.
“There are more positive stories appearing in the media around job stability and growth.
“Confidence appears to be slowly returning, which will have a positive impact on homebuyers; the more secure people feel about the their employment, the more likely they are to invest in property.”