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Professionals Arthur Johnston Snowball

256 York St Albany

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Steady as she goes

10 Aug 2015 Albany 0 Comment

REIWA’s latest Market Update (March Quarter 2015) comments that the Albany property market has remained “relatively stable for the last 12 months”.  Let’s have a quick look at the detail and make some comments and comparisons:

Median house price for Albany Urban Area now sits at $385,000 compared to $370,000 for 2014 or $375,000 five years ago.  Sales in the year to March were made up of 468 houses, 40 units and 227 blocks of land.  As of March, there were 744 properties listed for sale (up 8% on a year ago) taking an average time of 111 days to sell (up 27% for the quarter but down 8% for the year).

Rental prices rose 9% for the 12 months to an average of $350 per week with 62 properties available (March) which is up 72% from our drought around Christmas time but down 3% compared to a year ago.  We note that as of the 29th of June, there are now 103 properties available for rent in Albany.

Overall activity is up for the quarter but down for the year in both Perth metro and regional markets.  The huge divergence in the Albany and Perth rental markets is starting to reverse with Albany rents (up 9%) and vacancy rates (less than 2% in our office) are still favourable compared to the “big smoke” however our investors need to be prepared for the traditional slow down over winter.

The activity in our office corresponds with the REIWA data in sales and rentals; we found selling was slow leading up to the Christmas break, then extremely busy from January to March and then slow again in April and May.  We have noticed an increase in activity in June with some excellent sales across all price ranges and most categories of property.  Rental vacancies have increased slightly and rents have flattened out but activity has remained solid.

The glut of lifestyle properties continues but there does seem to be renewed interest mainly from people relocating (especially from Perth) and from farmers retiring to smaller properties around Albany.  There are some exceptional opportunities in this area with prices well below their peaks of a few years ago.

The WA market still has “trade up” buyers in the majority – 64% followed by first home buyers – 21% and investors – 15%.  This spread of buyers is largely unchanged from a year ago.

The recent rate reduction to the historic low of 2% (RBA cash rate) is unlikely to stimulate a frenzy of activity in WA; even though it is cheap to borrow money.  Consumer sentiment in WA is in “firmly negative territory” according to REIWA as the Westpac-Melbourne Institute Consumer Sentiment Index has WA at 91 compared to the rest of the country at 102 (100 is neutral).  Recent job losses in the mining, government and other sectors have most potential investors sitting on their hands and buyers looking to upgrade are in no hurry to do so.

What can we expect for the rest of 2015?  More of the same we would think – cautious and price sensitive buying, relatively high number of properties for sale, increasing vacancy rate for rentals over winter and relatively weak investor activity.

The old theory of property prices doubling every 7 years on average is being well and truly tested as Albany has had almost no price growth in 5 years (0.5% p.a.).  The longer term is better with an average of 6.5% p.a. over 10 years and 7.1% over 15 years.  If we take the most favourable period for growth, it will be just over 10 years before you double your money. If we continue to experience what we have in the last 5 years, it will take (look away now!) approximately 140 years.

But not wanting to finish on a negative tone, we at Professionals Albany believe that the interest we are seeing from retirees and those looking for a better lifestyle will see a gradual firming trend.  The Albany region is simply too magnificent to ignore!

 

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