Positive market growth and confidence sees competition return to first home buyer price ranges

In encouraging news for Western Australian homeowners, the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) reported that median house prices have risen for the second time in the last six months, to $467,000.

 “Buyer confidence is definitely returning to the WA capital,” said Angus Raine, CEO Raine & Horne.

In Maida Vale and the area’s surrounding suburbs, first home buyers are making a comeback into the market. “Everything we are listing, we’re selling,” said Simon Mills, Principal Raine & Horne Maida Vale & Hills, who noted that the Kalamunda Shire is seeing especially strong competition between $350,000 and $450,000.

To illustrate this point, Mr Mills recently sold 19 Jean Hulley Road, High Wycombe, prior to the first open house for $370,000. “The property was a three bedroom home situated on an 820sqm sub-dividable block,” said Mr Mills. “Sales like these are becoming increasingly common and the only problem is that we don’t have enough stock on the market at the moment to keep up with demand,” said Mr Mills.

Maida Vale and its surrounding suburbs are popular with buyers because of the area’s close proximity to the airport and short 20 minute drive to Perth’s CBD. “We deal with a broad range of buyers but we have noticed a real presence of first home buyers below the $400,000 mark.”

The WA Government’s First Home Owner Grant has been a major contributor to the strength of the WA first home buyer market. On top of the $7,000 bonus, first time buyers are exempt from paying stamp duty on homes under $500,000. First home buyers are also entitled to an additional $2,000 Assistance Account for homes up to $400,000. This scheme finances incidental expenses such as building inspections or mortgage insurance when they purchase an established or partly built home.

While the government support is important, Rae O’Neill, Raine & Horne’s Business Support and Development Manager WA, would like to see the stamp duty concessions extended to encompass established home owners. “You could be looking at around $60,000 in changeover costs alone, to buy and sell a home in WA,” said Ms O’Neill. “The government should seriously consider a stamp duty concession for those looking to downsize.”

Alec Marra, Principal of Raine & Horne Bunbury agrees. “The lack of stamp duty concessions for veteran homeowners is one of the biggest issues facing the Western Australian housing market and is deterring many people from downsizing or upgrading to another home.”

That said, Mr Marra is upbeat about the current market. “In Bunbury, house prices are sitting at around the same level as they were before the mining boom and as a consequence, serious buyers are returning to the area.”