Perth: Surprising recovery for property market

A “surprisingly” quick recovery

FROM record lows in April, the Perth property market has made a “surprisingly” quick recovery according to Reiwa president Damian Collins.

“I think the market has ridden a rollercoaster wave of confidence,” he said.

“April had the lowest transactions on record.

“What’s interesting is how quickly, in the last week of April and coming into May, things have bounced back.

“It’s been surprisingly positive and it’s happened surprisingly quicker than we could have thought six or seven weeks ago.”

There were 527 sales in the week ending May 10, 32.7 per cent higher than the week before and just short of double the 264 sales recorded a four weeks ago.

The number of sales is on par with the same time last year and Mr Collins said while Perth was experiencing an “ordinary market” then, it was still a positive sign.

Another positive sign for ongoing improvement was stock levels, which were decreasing before COVID-19 and have continued to decline through April.

Mr Collins said the number of homes for sale and rent were at the lowest levels since 2014.

The number of Perth homes listed for sale on reiwa.com was 11,611 at the end of last week, 30 per cent lower than a year ago.

There were 5420 homes listed for rent, 23 per cent lower than 12 month ago.

“(Listings) are even lower than they were in February and early March when we were having a much better market,” Mr Collins said.

“Speaking to agents over the weekend it was pretty buoyant, there is activity, there’s just not enough properties around for lease or sale.”

Supporting the market’s rapid bounceback was pent-up demand, which has led to the decline in stock, the quick return to almost-normal life and Perth’s housing affordability.

“(Earlier this year) the demand was there, rents were starting to increase, prices were increasing and we were kicking off into a better market,” Mr Collins said.

“Then of course when COVID came it scared everybody; the headlines originally were we’re going to have 20 per cent unemployment, prices were going to drop X per cent and people got fearful.

“Now they’re realising that’s not going to happen.

“We’re not going to have that bad a market in WA, we’re not going to have that unemployment, even hospitality, we’re opening up cafes next week, albeit with only 20 people, but things are starting to get back to normal and it’s just giving people that confidence again.”

When it came to affordability Mr Collins said Perth prices were the lowest they have been since 2013.

“When you look at our affordability across the country we’re the most affordable capital city by a long way,” he said.

“Our (average) income is higher than pretty much every capital city, including Sydney and Melbourne, and yet our house prices are half of Sydney and about 30 per cent per cent lower than Melbourne.

“And the median price in Adelaide is about the same as Perth, yet our income on average is 25-30 per cent higher.

“There’s pent up demand, the oversupply has gone, people are looking at getting a loan for 2.29 per cent and they’re just thinking, maybe it’s not a bad time.”

Mr Collins said, compared to March, when WA went into lockdown and restrictions were imposed on the property market, there was now more confidence the market would hold its own.

“If we continue to have an economic recovery and the economy continues to go back to normal, certainly the market could hold,” he said.

“I think the risk that was looking significant on April 1 is probably not looking very significant at this stage.”

Source: PerthNow