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Busselton tops with regional growth

Perth. 26 May 2015: Busselton property has once again been the best performer in the regions, with March Quarter data confirming it beat all other regional centres for price growth over the last year.

The analysis by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia found that the Busselton Urban Area had 5.7 per cent growth in the Year to March, suggesting that its good run through 2014 was continuing.
With a median house price of $460,000, Busselton was well ahead of all other regional centres, most of which went backwards through the same period.

REIWA spokesman for the southwest, Mr Joe White, said there was no one particular reason as to why Busselton was doing well, but a combination of factors that all seemed to come down to, “Gee - it's a nice place to live."

“I think a lot of people who might have been attracted to Busselton in recent years were lured away to places like Karratha and Port Hedland when the mining boom was on, but are now starting to come back given that’s winding down,” Mr White said.  

Mr White said many baby-boomers were also finishing up lucrative work contracts and “hanging up their boots” to go fishing.

“People forget that while the mining-construction boom has finished, these new mines still have to produce and the workforce is predominantly FIFO. These highly skilled people are in strong demand and making a lifestyle decision to live here given the new and improved infrastructure, including hospitals, schools, sporting and recreational culture and all with no traffic congestion.

“I think also, the critical level of population and infrastructure has started to feed itself. Specialist doctors at Bunbury, for example, are now attracted to move here as a lifestyle decision, and the more professionals who come here, the fewer reasons people have to stay based in Perth. The main reason now for locals to drive to Perth are reasons of choice, not necessity, such as busloads of fans going to watch the Eagles and Dockers play,” Mr White said.

Mr White said it was also a question of affordability, with buyers “getting a lot of property for their money.”

In second place for the Year to March regional results was Albany, which saw 4.1 per cent growth to a median house price of $385,000.

The only other regional centres to experience growth were Mandurah/Murray with 1.3 per cent growth to a median of $405,000, Bunbury with 0.3 per cent growth to $380,000 and Kalgoorlie/Boulder with just 0.1 per cent growth to $343,000.

REIWA President David Airey said that all seven other regional centres had negative growth in the 12 months to March 2015.

“Not surprisingly, the mining downturn in the Pilbara has hit that region hard, with Karratha experiencing a drop of 33.8 per cent to a median house price of $450,000.

“To put that in perspective by looking at what has happened year-on-year, Karratha’s median house price has dropped from $650,000 in the March quarter last year to $450,000 currently,” Mr Airey said.

Port Hedland saw a downturn of 11.4 per cent in the Year to March, pulling its median to $753,000.  

Broome dropped by almost 5 per cent to a median price of $585,000

Closer to Perth, the wheat-belt town of Northam dropped by 5 per cent to a median of $261,000.

Esperance fell by 3.3 per cent to $365,000.
Carnarvon dropped 2.3 per to $312,500.
Geraldton/Greenough slipped 0.8 per cent to $377,000.

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