By Tess Ingram
Buying a house in Perth is now almost $30,000 more expensive than it was at the beginning of the year, with the average house sale price tipping over $500,000 in April.
Data from Western Australia’s real estate institute, REIWA, pegs the average house sale price for April at $508,000; up from $495,000 in March and $480,000 in December 2020.
It marks the ninth consecutive month of price increases in Perth’s racing property market, however the monthly rate of growth appears to have slowed.
CoreLogic’s home value index for dwellings in Perth rose 0.8 per cent in April, lower than a 1.8 per cent increase in March and a 1.5 per cent lift in February.
It contributes to signs the strongest national property boom in decades is slowing.
Property prices increased 1.8 per cent nationally in April with every capital city and region recording growth, CoreLogic data released on Monday morning shows. This was down from a three-decade high 2.8 per cent national price increase in March.
According to CoreLogic data, Perth’s median house price increased to $537,020 in April, up from $532,187 in March.
On the other side of the country, Sydney’s median house price increased to $1,147,352 in April, up from $1,112,671 in March, while Melbourne’s median house price surged to $869,676 from $859,097 over the same period.
The rapid rise in property prices has prompted warnings about housing affordability from economists and MPs. Last week, federal Housing Minister Michael Sukkar said the state governments needed their “feet held to the fire” to address rising house prices and it was not up to the Commonwealth to fix the issue although he acknowledged it was a problem.
The slowing growth rate may help relieve some of these concerns. The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows first home buyer borrowing activity has started to decline.
CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless is expecting the slowdown to continue.
“The slowdown in housing value appreciation is unsurprising given the rapid rate of growth seen over the past six months, especially in the context of subdued wages growth,” Mr Lawless said. “With housing prices rising faster than incomes, it’s likely price sensitive sectors of the market, such as first home buyers and lower income households, are finding it harder to save for a deposit and transactional costs.”
CoreLogic now expects property values to continue rising this year and in early 2022 but at a slower pace.
Perth house prices increased 0.9 per cent over April, and are up 6 per cent year-to-date, according to CoreLogic.
Sydney house prices increased 2.8 per cent over April, while Melbourne house prices increased 1.4 per cent. Brisbane house prices increased 1.8 per cent over April, Canberra increased 2.1 per cent and Adelaide increased 2.2 per cent. Darwin and Hobart house prices increased 2.7 per cent and 1.1 per cent respectively.
Coalition backbenchers have become more vocal over the past 12 months about the issue of rising property prices, prompting Liberal MP Tim Wilson to launch a campaign proposing first-home buyers should be able to withdraw tens of thousands of dollars from their super funds to fund a deposit.
Labor spokesman for housing Jason Clare told the ABC on Saturday there was “no one single thing” causing the problem of housing affordability. He said land supply, planning and tax policy were all part of the mix of issues and if the opposition won government he would organise a meeting between federal, state and local governments to tackle the issue.
“What we need to do is make sure that homes are more accessible,” he said. “So we do need to see more supply being opened up.”
-- with Jennifer Duke
Tess Ingram is a journalist with WAtoday. She was previously a reporter in The Australian Financial Review's Perth bureau, covering business, economics and politics.