Light at end of tunnel for real estate

Callum HunterSouth Western Times

Bunbury experienced the highest proportion of property resale losses on record during the March quarter, but industry professionals believe there is light at the end of the tunnel.

According to a quarterly report recently released by Core Logic, 32.8 per cent of Bunbury’s property re-sales were made at a loss, the eighth highest in the country.

Real Estate Institute of WA Bunbury branch chairman Drew Cary said he thought the situation had come down to psychology after more than half a decade of negative growth.

“I think sellers have now become accustomed to that and it has become the new normal, they’ve accepted that that’s how the market is for them at present,” he said.

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“Consequently, they’re more prepared to take the haircut that’s necessary to move on, but one man’s bad news is another man’s good news.”

According to Mr Drew, the number of properties to rent has dropped to almost zero around Bunbury which combined with record low interest rates and government incentives had created a buyer’s market.

Hancock Real Estate principal Mal Hancock described Bunbury’s situation as disgraceful and said there had been no capital growth in the industry for the past 12 years, largely due to a lack of buyer confidence.

“I’ve been doing this a long time and get really disappointed in where we’re going,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of information that has been brought out to the public that is having an extremely negative effect on the market and confidence in people to buy.”

At a national level, the report indicated investors were more likely to re-sell their properties at a loss in comparison with owner-occupiers, a trend that fitted with the situation in Bunbury.

“Six or seven years ago, investors made up 44 per cent of the market place as far as home loan origination goes, now they are 16 per cent, there’s none, they’ve just dropped off the map,” Mr Drew said.

“First-homebuyers on the other hand have jumped from 18 or 20 per cent to I think 33 per cent, we’re getting first-homebuyers returning in droves to the marketplace.

“The marketplace has come alive again, we just haven’t seen it translate to increased prices yet.”

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