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Apr 24, 2024

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Perth’s housing value surged past the $700,000 mark last month with year-to-date price now at $703,502. According to Core Logic, that puts us closer to Adelaide’s $734,173 but still behind Melbourne ($778,892) and Brisbane’s $817,564. Sydney’s nation leading $1,139,375 seems a long way off, but in the years 2006-2009, Perth’s and Sydney’s dwelling values were aligned around $465,000.

Perth’s home values have increased 19.8 percent for the twelve months to March. Perth’s last strong market showing was back in the years 2012 – 2014 where housing values peaked at $518,737. Fuelled by the mining-construction sector which saw around 1,000 people per week flood into the state to take up high paying jobs, this boom came to an end when many of these workers returned home, limiting demand for housing.

It took Perth from July 2014 to April 2021 to regain the 15.3 percent fall in housing values after prices fell to $440,841 in July 2019. From that trough to current peak, a span of less than five years, Perth’s property values are up by 59.6 percent. Greater Fremantle has put on 20.8 percent over the past twelve months.

The current market is being fuelled from the bottom up. The top five performing local government areas in Australia are in Perth’s more affordable areas including Armadale, Gosnells, Rockingham and Kwinana. A two-bedroom duplex half recently listed in Rockingham is asking $449,000 sold three years ago for $260,000. The agent tells me she had offers site-unseen over $500,000 already. That’s a 33% gain over the past three consecutive years.

These are worrying signs for our market. Perth has long been known as a ‘boom – bust’ market with strong gains normally tied to a specific event – a mining industry boom, for example - followed by a strangled demise afterwards. The boom years of 2004 to 2006 were testament to that when Perth put on 40.6 percent house price growth in 2005 only to be back where it started a year later.

The question is, will this time be different? Whilst the pace of property value gains is following a similar pattern to previous booms, this time its is predicated on three major factors: Population growth, low supply and relative affordability and not a mining boom.

Our quarterly change in population shows more than 20,000 arrivals, well above the long-term average. Core Logic’s analysis of monthly listing volumes shows inventories are at about half the decade average and, as already demonstrated, Perth remains more affordable than most of the nation’s capitals.

These elements, underpinning Perth’s current market gains, will ebb and flow in the coming months. However, with supply levels still low and migration levels strong, the only thing likely to arrest this current trajectory in the short term is affordability and until our house values reach the early to mid- $800,000’s it seems unlikely affordability will impinge on potential future gains.