Western Australian property market remains bleak

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on January 13, 2020
Western Australian property market remains bleak

Photo by Nathan Hurst on Unsplash

With economic activity in Western Australia well below its ten year average and effective unemployment significantly above the ten year benchmark, the property market, particularly units, continue to experience weakness.

However, according to RiskWise Property Research Risks & Opportunities Report, buyer confidence is on the increase in the state, particularly Perth with housing finance increasing 15.1% since February 2019. 

The table below displays some of the lowest-interest variable rate home loans currently available in Australia for owner-occupiers making principal and interest repayments.

Lender

Variable
More details
  • Min 30% deposit
  • No monthly or ongoing fees, add 0.10% for offset
  • Unlimited redraws

Variable Home Loan (LVR < 70%)

  • Min 30% deposit
  • No monthly or ongoing fees, add 0.10% for offset
  • Unlimited redraws
Variable
More details
REFINANCE ONLY
  • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
REFINANCE ONLY

Variable Rate Home Loan – Refinance Only

  • A low-rate variable home loan from a 100% online lender. Backed by the Commonwealth Bank.
Variable
More details
AN EASY DIGITAL APPLICATION
  • No ongoing fees - None!
  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
  • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
  • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster
AN EASY DIGITAL APPLICATION

Neat Variable Home Loan (Principal and Interest) (LVR < 60%)

  • No ongoing fees - None!
  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
  • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
  • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster
Variable
More details
NO ONGOING FEES
  • No ongoing fees - None!
  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
  • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
  • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster
NO ONGOING FEES

Yard PAYG Home Loan (Principal and Interest) LVR ≤ 80%

  • No ongoing fees - None!
  • Unlimited additional repayments
  • Easy online application, find out if you're approved quick!
  • Redraw- Access your additional payments if you need them
  • Use the app to get loan insights to help you pay off your home loan faster

Base criteria of: a $400,000 loan amount, variable, fixed, principal and interest (P&I) home loans with an LVR (loan-to-value) ratio of at least 80%. However, the ‘Compare Home Loans’ table allows for calculations to be made on variables as selected and input by the user. All products will list the LVR with the product and rate which are clearly published on the Product Provider’s web site. Monthly repayments, once the base criteria are altered by the user, will be based on the selected products’ advertised rates and determined by the loan amount, repayment type, loan term and LVR as input by the user/you. *The Comparison rate is based on a $150,000 loan over 25 years. Warning: this comparison rate is true only for this example and may not include all fees and charges. Different terms, fees or other loan amounts might result in a different comparison rate. Rates correct as of August 10, 2022. View disclaimer.

RiskWise CEO Doron Pelg said with low economic activity and high unemployment, Western Australia's annual population growth of 1% was the third lowest in the country. 

“As a result, the housing market, particularly units, has experienced continued weakness in recent years," Mr Peleg said.

"According to CoreLogic, house and unit prices in Perth have declined by 8.6% and 9% in the past year, respectively. 

“Western Australia is still in a long transition process from a mining-oriented economy and while unemployment has slightly improved from 6.1% in April to 5.7% in October, it is still projected to deliver low economic growth, a soft job market and low population growth." 

Perth continues to buck the national trend of rising house prices, with median dwelling values in the WA capital falling 0.1% over the December quarter, according to CoreLogic.

In comparison, the national median dwelling price recorded its strongest quarterly growth in a decade, up 4.0% for the quarter, largely driven by Sydney and Melbourne, where prices increased 6.2% and 6.1% respectively.  

In further worrying figures, Mr Peleg said that mortgage arrears in Perth are at an alarming level, with the delinquency rate sitting at 2.75%.

"While this has improved from 3.05 per cent as reported in August, this number has grown over the course of several years and is now well above the Australian average.

"The relatively high unemployment rate also increases the risk of credit defaults.

“Negative equity also remains a major risk especially for lenders who have a concentration of loans in this market. These risks are compounded by this high rate of arrears." 

Limited number of suburbs delivering growth 

Mr Peleg said while Perth was "very affordable", there were a small number of suburbs where houses delivered reasonable capital growth in recent years, but these were exceptions only. 

Even with record low interest rates, an expected February cash rate cut and relaxed lending restrictions, houses still carried a medium level of risk due to Western Australia's economic conditions. 

Some of the worst performing areas for houses in the past year include Perth - North East (-8.8% capital growth), Perth - Inner (-8.4%) and Perth - South West (-7.3%). 

However, Mr Peleg said units were considered worse than houses, due to a massive oversupply, low demand and state government taxes. 

“Also, units in some suburbs are subject to voluntary lending restrictions by the major lenders, such as lower loan-to-value ratio (i.e. higher deposit).

"In addition, the state government tax on overseas investors further decreases the demand for new units as investment properties.”

Mr Peleg said despite there being no unit construction defects reported in Perth, media coverage of incidents like Sydney's Opal Tower have caused consumer confidence in them to take a hit. 

“The issues with construction defects in NSW and Victoria and the publicity they have received in the media mean this situation is unlikely to materially improve in the short term."

“While there have been no major construction defects reported in relation to high-rise buildings in Perth, the events in Sydney and Melbourne increase the risk of reputational damage and, consequently, lower demand for both existing and off-the-plan high-rise units.”




Disclaimers

The entire market was not considered in selecting the above products. Rather, a cut-down portion of the market has been considered. Some providers' products may not be available in all states. To be considered, the product and rate must be clearly published on the product provider's web site. Savings.com.au, yourmortgage.com.au, yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au, and Performance Drive are part of the Savings Media group. In the interests of full disclosure, the Savings Media Group are associated with the Firstmac Group. To read about how Savings Media Group manages potential conflicts of interest, along with how we get paid, please visit the web site links at the bottom of this page.

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Alex joined Savings.com.au as a finance journalist in 2019. He enjoys covering in-depth economical releases and breaking down how they might affect the everyday punter. He is passionate about providing Australians with the information and tools needed to make them financially stable for their futures.

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