Perth's housing market has continued to suffer, with median prices falling and sales turnover remaining below average.
Quarterly results from the REIWA have shown weakness in the Perth housing market, as median prices fell from $480,000 in June to $450,000 in September. Sales turnover has remained flat for the quarter, and is around 30% below the 15-year average for the city.
REIWA president David Airey put a positive spin on the results, pointing to increased first homebuyer activity. He commented that the rush of first time buyers could partially account for the drop-off in median prices.
"It’s important to note that an estimated 28% of sales activity was from first home buyers, most of whom purchase under $450,000. This is pulling the median downwards because of the increased sales of more affordable homes, with the median purchase price for a first time buyer now sitting at $415,000," Airey said.
Airey commented that the quarter saw a number of vendors withdraw their properties from the market and offer them for rent. However, he said the move had failed to see pressure taken off of rental demand, with Perth's vacancy rate falling below 3% for the first time since early 2009.
"It seems that despite housing affordability having improved, many people are still opting to rent rather than buy, and this is placing increased pressure on the rental market, pushing median rents up by 4%," he commented.
Airey predicted that the WA market would bottom out within six months, and begin to show signs of recovery by the middle of 2012.