PERTH’S residential property market is poised for an upturn in coming months, with median prices and housing finance commitments on the rise, and rapidly increasing rents pointing to a bright 2012 for the sector.
December quarter data released by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia late last week showed the first lift (0.5 per cent) in Perth median house prices since the market peaked in March 2010.
Property analysts RP Data also reported Perth median home values rose by 0.5 per cent in November, following the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to cut interest rates.
The reported rise in median prices was followed by this week’s release of housing finance commitments by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which showed a 0.9 per cent increase in WA, the fourth rise in as many months.
Housing finance commitments in WA are currently at their highest level since December 2009.
Urban Development Institute of Australia chief executive Debra Goostrey said the encouraging trends were reflected in a rise in First Home Owner Grants, which also increased 0.9 per cent in December, according to WA Department of Treasury figures.
“The number of First Home Owner Grant applications for buying new houses and land also increased by 3 per cent in December, bringing the application figures to their highest level since December 2009, the last month of the First Home Owner Grant boost,” Ms Goostrey said in a statement.
“Whilst we’ll still see some negative data as the downward cycle comes to an end, all the leading indicators are signalling the market’s about to enter a positive phase.”
REIWA president David Airey said Perth’s rental market was the emerging pressure point in the housing system.
Latest REIWA data put Perth’s vacancy rate at 2.3 per cent for the December quarter, well down on the 3.4 per cent from the same period last year.
Median rent for units and apartments remained steady at $380 per week, while rents for houses were up $20 on the previous quarter, to $420 per week.
Overall, Perth median rents reached $400 per week, an increase of 8.1 per cent over the last year.
“It’s evident there is greater confidence returning to the property market, reflected in the increase in sales activity in the December quarter and the fall in listings we saw across 2011,” Mr Airey said.
“This bodes well for a positive start to 2012, but we still maintain some level of cautiousness given the global economic situation despite WA having a more robust economy.”