FIGURES from the Urban Development Institute of Australia (WA) show lot sales fell 9.5 per cent in the June quarter, to 1,057 lots. This represented a 44 per cent drop in sales compared with this time last year. Prices have also fallen since the March quarter, with the average price for lots sold down more than 15 per cent, to $252,523. This was a 9.7 per cent fall from the average in June 2007. Meanwhile, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the number of WA first homebuyers stayed relatively constant between May 2007 and May 2008, at around 1,200. However, as a share of the overall market, first homebuyers have grown from 12.7 per cent to 18 per cent. UDIA WA chief executive Debra Goostrey said Perth had developed a three-tier market, with more first homebuyers purchasing house and land packages using grants and placing placed downward pressure on the average lot price. “The high value premium lots became a much smaller part of the market last quarter and the first home buyer market is holding its own, with builders and developers producing affordable product that meets their financing limits,” she said. “The issue appears to be that the existing home market is slow which is creating problems for those looking to build a new home but needing to sell their existing property to fund the purchase.” Dome Belmont office BULKY goods developer Dome Property Group has launched its six-storey office development in Belmont, called Vu175. The building, located on Great Eastern Highway, will contain 7,200 square metres of space, marketed at a net rent of $425/sqm. Elements Property Group director Horatio Alvarez, who is consulting to Dome on the project, said construction could begin in September or October if a pre-commitment from an anchor tenant was obtained. Mr Alvarez said discussions were under way with several CBD-based mining services companies, although a deal was yet to be finalised.