AFTER a “shocking” 2016, REIWA councillor Joe While said the market was starting to look up.
“There were 32,000 sales statewide, as against the 10-year average of 62,000,” he said.
“(However) the doom and gloom seems to have passed and people are buying again in the South-West for all sorts of reasons.
“Retirement is a big motivating factor and a few holiday-home buyers have slipped back into the scene, which is the first time they have come out of hibernation since the summer of 2007-8.
“First-home buyers are few, but a healthy turnover in established homes seems to have reset the market.”
Despite the fall in |holiday-home purchases, increased turnover from permanent residents looking to settle in the South-West, or buying with a view to settling in the region, had supported the market. Mr White said holiday-home buyers were returning, but with a difference.
“This summer we saw an increased interest from Perth buyers, however they weren’t simply looking for a holiday home but a holiday home with a view to being a semi-permanent home in the future,” he said.
“The demographics are changing and we have a new breed of dual citizen emerging; for example, spending four days here, three in Perth – kicking the kids out and selling the Perth home and buying a unit.”
Reflecting interest from a variety of buyers, Mr White said all areas of the market were seeing demand, but prices were yet to improve.
“There has been no growth but there is less choice in areas near the beach, so I suspect we may see prices firm a bit over the next year,” Mr White said.
“But we are not expecting a return to inflationary conditions as people are still looking for value for their money. On the whole, though, I’m quietly optimistic about the market.
“Some select areas could see a bit of growth, but I see increased turnover as being the big change over 2016.”
Aside from the obvious lifestyle attractions, one of the factors supporting a move to the South-West was technology.
“The growth in technology has been a benefit to regional areas,” Mr While said.
“Work can now be done remotely and the NBN could be a game-changer for us.”
The $60 million upgrade to the Busselton Airport is also expected to support more fly-in-fly-out lifestyle residents and tourism in the South-West, as well as supporting agricultural experts.
“It’s a long way off, but it could be a game-changer,” Mr White said. n