Professionals Arthur Johnston Snowball
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Figures just released from REIWA and Landgate show that interest in Albany property remains strong despite heavy declines in some regional centres.
502 established homes sold in Albany in 2013-14; exactly the same number as the year before. This is a strong result considering every other regional centre recorded less sales than the previous year. Notably the Augusta / Margaret River area was down by more than 18%, Geraldton down almost 13%, Kalgoorlie down more than 38% and to the North, Broome was down 29% and Port Headland recorded 35% fewer sales. Almost holding ground was Mandurah and the South West towns of Bunbury and Busselton only recorded falls of just over 8%.
Albany also led the way in land sales; with 217 sales last financial year against 195 the year before – an increase of 11%. The only other centres to record an increase in land sales were Esperance and Port Hedland – both on fairly small volumes.
And whilst prices have not risen in the last 5 years for established homes (median price of $365,000), blocks have edged up to $170,000 – $17,000 more than the same time last year, and up from $145,000 five years ago.
The solid performance of Albany property sales has not come at the cost of rental properties; quite the contrary. The average weekly rent of houses in Albany is now $330 – up 10% for the year and stock levels have fallen 18% in that time – again, making Albany the best performing centre in regional WA and bucking the Perth metropolitan trend where rents have fallen and vacancy rates are increasing.
Are we on the cusp of a price break-out? The numbers above would certainly indicate that punters should bet on prices increasing rather than decreasing, but a boom of 2007 proportions seems unlikely in these more conservative times. One reliable early indicator is stock level – the number of homes on the market. Compared with this time last year, we are down 14% with 687 homes currently for sale. So all the numbers are in the right direction for at least some moderate price growth to reward patient Albany property owners.