International migration fuels perth real estate boom school zones
Demand for homes in coveted school catchment zones is leading to significant price jumps in Perth. Image: Canva.
  • Perth's school catchment areas see soaring house prices due to migrant demand.
  • Population growth and low supply intensify Perth's real estate market dynamics.
  • Suburbs in good public school catchments identified as Perth property hotspots.

Perth house prices have soared in suburbs that fall into the catchment area of Perth’s most prestigious public schools, according to Resolve Property Solutions buyer’s agent, Peter Gavalas.

These hotly contested suburbs have racked up double-digit percentage growth across the past year, with families reportedly willing to fork out more for the privilege of sending their children to some of Western Australia’s best classrooms.

Perth’s education drawcard

Gavalas believes this pattern has intensified due to the surge in migration into Western Australia, especially Perth.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Western Australia’s population growth outstripped the national average throughout 2022, with the respective rates being 2.3% and 1.9%.

Much of the population growth is being boosted by international migrants enticed by Perth’s booming economy, low unemployment rate, and high salaries.

Furthermore, Gavalas says that Perth’s top public schools are renowned for their excellence.

Peter Gavalas headshot
Peter Gavalas. Image: Supplied.

“As more international migrants are drawn to the city, demand for homes in these coveted school catchment zones is soaring,” he says.

“Families are willing to pay a premium for access to a good education, and this is driving prices up.”

Fierce competition in prime school catchments

To illustrate, Domain‘s latest house price report has found that houses near Sorrento Primary School and Winthrop Primary School have witnessed a jaw-dropping year-on-year (YoY) price jump of 23.2% during the June quarter.

Meanwhile, other hotspots near coveted secondary schools, like Carine, Safety Bay, and Ocean Reef, have experienced substantial price growths of 14.9%, 13.3% and 8.9% respectively.

“However, it’s not only rising demand and competition driving these price increases; historically low stock levels in these suburbs are further intensifying the market dynamics.”

Peter Gavalas, Resolve Property Solutions

Indeed, SQM data reports that a mere 41 properties were listed for sale in Winthrop in August, representing an astonishing 33.9% YoY decrease.

Stock on market for sale in 6150, including Winthrop

Safety Bay stock has also suffered a 36% YoY fall, while Ocean Reef’s available properties declined by 29.2%.

Stock on market for sale in 6169, including Safety Bay

“The competition for properties in good school catchment areas in Perth is fierce. Buyers are not only willing to pay a premium for these homes but are also acting swiftly to secure them. Low supply levels are exacerbating this situation, and it’s becoming increasingly challenging for buyers to find properties in these high-demand areas,” Gavalas says.

Stock on market for sale in 6027, including Ocean Reef

Similar challenges faced by rest of Perth

The situation is not any better for the rest of Perth, with The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) forecasting that the property market will remain tight for the foreseeable future as Western Australia continues to grow while listings remain scant.

REIWA CEO Cath Hart predicts that the demand for established homes will not abate soon, following the release of ABS’ latest data; WA’s population increased by 2.8 to 2.855 million in the year to March 2023, the speediest growth rate in the nation.

The March quarter of 2023 witnessed the largest rise in WA’s population, by 26,005, or 0.9%, the most significant quarterly change recorded by the ABS since 1981.

At the same time, Perth’s vacancy rate shrank to 0.8% in August, driving new records in rents and house prices over the month.

“We have a significant imbalance between supply and demand and this will maintain the pressure on WA’s sales and rental markets,” Hart says.

“We can expect to see house prices and rents continue to rise, homes to sell and lease quickly and the vacancy rate to remain at near-record lows for some time yet.”

Dire shortages in housing supply

Hart says that the inadequate number of homes being built will have enduring effects.

“While there are about 20,000 homes currently under construction, they’re meeting previous demand rather than future demand,” she says.

“Only around 14,000 new dwelling commencements are expected this year, with new builds in the apartment market at extremely low levels.

“Until we can get a strong and consistent pipeline of new dwellings, we can expect to see ongoing pressure in the established market to house our growing population.”

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