30/09/2009 - 13:49

WA home values up 4% in 2009

30/09/2009 - 13:49

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Dwelling values in Western Australia have risen more than 4 per cent this year despite evidence that first home-buyers are fading from the market, a private sector survey has found.

Dwelling values in Western Australia have risen more than 4 per cent this year despite evidence that first home-buyers are fading from the market, a private sector survey has found.

The median value of a dwelling in WA rose by 4.1 per cent to $489,154 in the first eight months of the year, and was up marginally, 0.6 per cent, on July's figures, the RP Data-Rismark National Home Value Index found.

House values climbed 0.95 per cent from July to $495,202, or 3.65 per cent for the year so far.

Unit values fell 0.52 per cent to $466,952 in August, but were up 5.87 per cent for the year.

Nationally, home values in Australia rose by 1.9 per cent in August, while home values grew 7.9 per cent in the first eight months of the 2009.

It was the highest monthly increase since the survey began in January 2005.

The result comes a day after RBA head of economic analysis Tony Richards warned housing prices may rise too fast and reduce housing affordability for lower income Australians.

RP data research director Tim Lawless said today the August result showed surprisingly high levels of buyer confidence.

"The buoyant conditions sit in striking contrast to the same time last year when values were falling, less than half of the auctions held cleared and sales volumes were at rock bottom," he said in a statement.

"We are now seeing home values rising at a solid rate.

"Almost 80 per cent of auctions are clearing and sales values have bounced back significantly."

Melbourne and Sydney, Australia's largest cities, lead the recovery in 2009 with total capital gains of 11.6 and 8.6 per cent respectively.

House prices in Darwin rose 9.7 per cent in the past eight months, Canberra grew by 6.7 per cent and Brisbane by 5.2 per cent.

Rismark International managing director Christopher Joye said the housing market had firmed despite evidence first homebuyers were fading from the market.

"In contrast to claims that this is a first time buyer bubble, the cheapest 20 per cent of suburbs in Australia have actually underperformed both the mid-priced market and Australia's 20 per cent most expensive suburbs since the housing market bottomed in December 2008," he said.

The report showed that over the past three months the value of the cheapest 20 per cent of the housing market increased by 2.8 per cent.

The value of the middle market, which represented 60 per cent of home sales, increased by 3.4 per cent while the premium market increased by 4.5 per cent.

Despite the rise, Australia's most expensive houses are still 1.1 per cent lower than at their peak, he said.

Meanwhile, official figures show that housing finance commitments for owner-occupied housing fell 2.0 per cent in July, seasonally adjusted, to 63,259.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics data found that total housing finance by value fell by 2.3 per cent in July, seasonally adjusted, to $22.460 billion.

Economists had expected the number of owner-occupier housing finance commitments to fall by 1.0 per cent in July.

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