WA homes sales up, values down

31/10/2008 - 10:04

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The Western Australian housing market is tipped to bottom out this December quarter as new homes sales during September jumped 19.5 per cent, however Perth remains the worst performer in property values.

WA homes sales up, values down

The Western Australian housing market is tipped to bottom out this December quarter as new homes sales during September jumped 19.5 per cent, however Perth remains the worst performer in property values.

New figures from Housing Industry Association show WA and New South Wales, up 4.5 per cent, as the only states to record an increase in sales volumes, with national sales down 1.8 per cent.

HIA executive director John Dastlik said the big rise in WA sales was encouraging given that it pre-dates the 1 per cent interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank and the federal government's $10.4 billion fiscal stimulus package announcement.

"There is cause for optimism that the worst may be behind us," Mr Dastlik said.

"With interest rates on the way down and a tripling of the First Home Owners Grant for new dwellings, there is a good chance we may finally see a bottoming out in leading housing indicators in WA over the December 2008 quarter.

"Indeed there is already some evidence that this is occurring."

Although the big jump in sales volumes is good news for the state's housing market, Mr Dastlik reminded that the 19.5 per cent increase comes from a low base following weak results for July and August.

Over the September quarter, WA homes sales were down by 18 per cent, 6 per cent lower than a year earlier.

"The clear signal from leading housing indicators for WA is that new home building activity will remain soft through to the end of 2008 at least," Mr Dastlik said

"However, we would hope to see a modest recovery in housing starts emerge over the first half of 2009, although it will be insufficient to put the entire 2008/09 financial year in the black."

Meanwhile in its National Property Value Indices report, property research agency RP Data said Perth remains the worst performer with dwelling values down 5.7 per cent over the first nine months of 2008.

"Despite the ongoing slowdown in Perth values, the city's units remain the most expensive of any capital city, recording a median value of $449,500," RP Data said.

Earlier this month, the Real Estate Institute of WA said the city's median house price had fallen to $426,000.

Today RP data said rental yields in Perth remain the lowest in the nation with rental houses returning an average yield of 3.9 per cent and units returning 4.52 per cent.

"The Perth market is likely to remain unattractive to investors due to the ongoing value falls and low rental yields," the research agency said.

Nationally, RP said indicative figures for the September quarter show property values declined by 0.5 per cent, an improvement from the previous quarter which recorded a 2 per cent fall.

In the nine months to the end of September, Australian property values have been largely resilient, declining by just 1.4 per cent.

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