WA downbeat on property prices

07/01/2009 - 06:43

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Western Australians are the most downbeat in the nation about property prices with house price expectations at an all-time low.

WA downbeat on property prices

Western Australians are the most downbeat in the nation about property prices with house price expectations at an all-time low.

According to figures released today by the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA)/BankWest Home Finance Index, almost 60 per cent of Australians believe there will be a decline in property values in the next quarter, with only 14.6 per cent of respondents thinking house prices will rise.

This is compared with 69.9 per cent of Western Australians believing there will be a fall over the next year. Conversely, South Australians are the most optimistic with only 46.1 per cent believing that the value of homes will drop.

"This is the most pessimistic response we have had in relation to property price expectations since we commenced the Home Finance Index in June 2006," MFAA chief executive Phil Naylor said.

"This should not be seen as all bad news. The expected decline in prices will help address the chronic problem of housing being unaffordable for a lot of Australians, and first time buyers are likely to be enticed back into the market.

"This may drive a revival in the housing industry in the near future."

In addition to the forecast expectations, the Index also revealed that almost a quarter of Australians who own a residential property believe the price of their property had fallen in the past 12 months.

"The retrospective views on property values vary significantly state-to-state," Mr Naylor said.

"On average, 24 per cent of Australian home owners believe that the value of their home has declined in the past 12 months. In Western Australia this doubles, with 53.5 per cent believing their house has lost value, while in South Australia only 7 per cent of property owners feel as though the prices have fallen."

BankWest head of mortgages and savings Paul Vivian, said this perceived drop in house prices will lead to a revival in first time buyers entering the market.

"First time buyers are more convinced than other groups that there will continue to be a drop in property prices, with 27.8 per cent saying that the lower prices make now a good time to buy," he said.

"Overall, over half of first time buyers believe it is a good time to buy, but many remain cautious, watching the economic conditions carefully, and waiting for further interest rate cuts and price falls, which they wholly expect to happen."

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