The March quarter results released today by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia illustrate positive news right across the state for the first three months of this year. The median house price in Perth has risen for the second time in six months, up by $2,000 on December to a median price of $467,000. REIWA President David Airey said Perth had now experienced two consecutive quarters of growth following seven quarters of decline. “The median house price isn’t the only measure of the market, but when we look at the other indicators from the quarter we find it’s generally a pretty good picture,” Mr Airey said. In the metropolitan area the median price of grouped dwellings such as units, apartments and villas also grew, in this case, by 2.5 per cent to a median of $400,000. The total number of properties on the market increased six per cent since December, however the total number of dwellings sold jumped by 13 per cent; the highest turnover in two years. Mr Airey said the number of sellers who are dropping their asking price can be a good barometer of the market, and March quarter data show this has fallen three per cent to 65 per cent of sellers in the market. “The gap between the asking price and the selling price in Perth has also closed further, dropping to 6.4 per cent from seven per cent in December. This trend suggests that more sellers are meeting the market and that pricing is being done with greater confidence as the median price levels out,” Mr Airey said. In the regions, the median price for houses grew much more strongly than in the city, lifting by $15,000 or four per cent to a median of $380,000, although units and apartments in the regions remained steady at $335,000. Mr Airey said the metropolitan rental market has seen some of the strongest movement in the quarter. “The median rent in Perth lifted by $20 to $400 per week, or five per cent from the end of last year. This has been prompted by a tightening of the vacancy rate to 1.9 per cent, well under the accepted equilibrium of three per cent. “REIWA property managers are still reporting strong interest in rental accommodation at home opens, with many people looking through properties to secure a place to live,” Mr Airey said”. “I think over the last eighteen months many potential buyers have lacked the confidence to purchase, as they watched the median price coming down in weak national and international economies, but now that things are picking up and the housing market has bottomed out, they are returning. “For this reason, I believe that as many renters make the switch to being home buyers and as investors return to the rental market as yields improve, the pressure is likely to come off the rental system for the remainder of this year,” Mr Airey said. Mr Airey suggested the strong activity from first home buyers had been a great help to the overall market, ensuring many trade-up buyers had the opportunity to sell an existing property and then move on. “It was notable that during the March quarter there was a marked increase in the number of sales above the metropolitan median price as trade-up buyers got moving. “All up, the March quarter results are encouraging and give me reason to believe that the worst is now behind us. There is often a slump in the market during the winter months, but I’m confident that for the remainder of this year we will see sales turnover increasing and the median price gradually lifting as our state maintains its good economic growth and positive population trend. “It’s not a boom but it does look like a welcome return towards more normal market conditions,” Mr Airey said.