Signs Of Recovery In WA Mining Towns


Western Australia’s Mining Boom Towns Appear To Have Turned A Corner, With Real Estate Agents Reporting Increased Sales, Multiple Offers And Renewed Buyer Interest.

After a bottoming out of the resources sector in recent years, particularly Port Hedland and Karratha, a new CoreLogic report has found home values rising and slow improvements in buyer confidence.

Property prices in Port Hedland have collapsed almost 70% in the past four years. CoreLogic data shows the Pilbara iron ore shipping town recorded 204 sales in the past year, with a median price of $300,000.

But some Port Hedland vendors have taken big hits, listing their homes for sale well below what they purchased them for in the height of WA’s resources boom.

A six-bedroom, 1541sqm waterfront property at 25 Kingsmill Street, Port Hedland is calling for offers over $800,000 – almost half of what it was bought for in 2008 when it sold for $1.5 million.

Further south, Karratha recorded 289 sales in the past year, with a median price of $285,000.

Median prices have fallen 65% in Karratha since the 2010 peak, CoreLogic statistics show.

In the Karratha suburb of Dampier, 4 Gregory Crescent has been listed for sale $589,000, a big hit on what the owners bought it for in $1.055 million in 2011.

CoreLogic head of research Cameron Kusher says most mining towns in Australia have seen property prices crushed in recent years, with falling commodity prices and investment drying.“As resource investment has stalled over recent years, demand for housing in towns linked to the mining and resources sector has fallen which has dragged house prices lower,” Kusher says.

“More recently, many of these towns have seen sales volumes begin to lift and in some regions there are signs that the rate of decline in house prices are starting to slow.”

Brent Rudler, from Ray White Port Hedland, says confidence in the local market has edged up.

“We are starting to head back in the right direction and that’s what we need,” Rudler says.

“We are no orphan in the north but there’s some great opportunities. We are seeing multiple offers and starting to see the prices come back up.

“It’s the opportunity now for young people to get into the market and invest…First home buyers and locals that can now get into the housing market at a good level.”

But he says the “biggest drawback” now is that banks require a 30% deposit to buy properties in Port Hedland.

“All in all, we’re heading in the right direction. We don’t want to go back to where we were because it’s unsustainable. We can’t sustain that level again,” Rudler says.

Rob Sleator, from Pilbara Real Estate Karratha, says there have been some positive moves across the region with 62 properties sold this year, compared to 50 the same time last year.

“Transaction-wise, it’s been positive, it’s ticking along,” Sleator says.

“The transactions have definitely improved and that’s because stock levels have come down.

“Property prices have come off almost 68%. We had five years of decline but we were still selling, people were still buying and people were still renting.

“What we are finding now is that there is less stock and we are getting multiple offers from buyers. There’s been a few instances where we’ve got up to 10% more than the asking price.

“There’s nowhere else in Australia where prices have come off 60% to 68%. It’s just wiped out everyone’s equity that they’ve made over the last 15 years.”

Kusher says history shows that mining booms don’t last forever and are high boom-time process are not sustainable.


“Prices were being driven higher by a temporary influx of residents on high incomes creating greater housing demand at a time in which supply which was largely irresponsive, which drove prices to record high levels,” he says.

“As the demand subsided supply was beginning to increase which led to substantial falls in both prices and sales.”


Source: Real

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