Mar 22, 2016 | Sarah Highlands | permalink
House prices drop
First-homebuyers looking to get a foot on the property ladder have bolstered house sales in Broome.
Latest REIWA figures show the Broome median house prices dropped by 7.7 per cent in the December quarter.
But rather than stagnate, the local market has been buoyed at the lower end of the pricing scale with more affordable asking prices and low interest rates combining to put the dream of home ownership within reach.
REIWA Kimberley president Tony Hutchinson said the drop in median prices reflected the strength of the lower end of the market and did not necessarily indicate a slide across the full spectrum of the market.
The median house price in the Kimberley town sits at about $507,500 while units are at $251,000.
Mr Hutchinson said the lower prices had attracted a lot of interest from individuals and couples looking to secure their first property in a market that was once financially impossible for them.
"Interest rates are at a level now that we haven't seen for many years," he said.
"Holiday units are also at historically low levels and we have seen quite a lot of interest from the eastern seaboard."
Mr Hutchinson, the managing director of Hutchinson Real Estate in Broome, said the number of rental properties in town was also decreasing because of seasonal factors combined with increased employment, mainly generated by government and health services.
"We have leased 25 properties in recent weeks, which is very encouraging," he said.
Resident Dave Lindsay has just secured a block of land at Broome North in preparation for the construction of his first home.
The 34-year-old plans to move into the home with his partner, Doreen, 30, and their son Jack, 4, and six-month-old daughter Isabella in about six months.
"We were sick of paying rent, which is now comparable to our mortgage," he said.
"Low interest rates and a decrease in property prices here in Broome are the major reason behind our decision."
Broome First National principal Allan Griffiths said it was unusual the share market had had such a bad start to the year while real estate offered good opportunities to purchase for first-time homeowners and investors.
"Usually investors are taking profits from shares and pushing property prices up but this is not currently the case and residential investment offers returns above fixed deposit investment and is now at the lowest cost we have seen in terms of replacement, for many years," he said.
Ray White Broome principal Tony Hart said seven out of 11 blocks the agency recently sold in the new Waranyjarri Estate land release were to first-homebuyers.
"With interest rates being so low, first-homebuyers are seeing the affordable land parcels as great value," he said.
"Local builders are also onboard producing extremely well-priced house and land packages."