Home prices and rents march upward in WA's regional centres
Eight of the nine regional centres had increases in median house prices. Image: Canva.
  • Port Hedland had the highest median price increase over the June 2023 quarter.
  • Setbacks in the construction industry pushing demand into established homes.
  • Rental situation remains tight in most regional markets.

Port Hedland was crowned the best-performing regional centre in the June 2023 quarter, posting a 6.1% growth in its median house price, according to the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia’s (REIWA) latest report on Western Australia’s (WA) regional centre’s quarterly home price performance.

Increased interest in Port Headland driven by affordability and infrastructure projects

The regional centre saw its median house prices rise from $470,000 in the March 2023 quarter to $498,500. REIWA president, Joe White, commented that much of the activity was concentrated in the affordable segment of the market.

“Members report demand is higher in the $250,000-$400,000 price bracket and properties are selling quickly, while $600,000-$700,000 family homes are taking longer to sell,” White said.

“Both local owner occupiers and interstate investors are active in the market.

“New South Wales investors, in particular, are increasingly interested in Port Hedland, seeking to capitalise on the significant range of new infrastructure and resource projects underway that will boost employment and the need for accommodation.”

More activity in the established home market

Supply shortages, a manpower deficit, the rising cost of raw building materials, and an ongoing insolvency crisis contributed to significant setbacks in building new homes. Hence, more Australians were turning to the established home market to secure houses.

“A lack of building development in the area means it is often cheaper and more convenient to purchase an existing property,” White remarked.

Growth in most regional centres

Out of the nine regional centres, Broome was the only area that experienced a drop in its median price.

Median house price growth for regional WA

Regional centre Median house sale price Three-month change 12-month change
Albany $480,000 +2.1% +10.3%
Broome $640,000 -1.5% -1.5%
Bunbury $430,000 +1.2% +7.5%
Busselton $680,000 +1.0% +10.0%
Esperance $420,000 +1.8% +5.0%
Geraldton $375,000 +1.4% +0.0%
Kalgoorlie $347,500 +0.7% +5.3%
Karratha $558,500 +1.5% +7.4%
Port Hedland $498,500 +6.1% +7.2%

Source: REIWA.

Albany’s performance this quarter placed it as the first runner-up, with median house prices growing by 2.1% to $480,000. Furthermore, it also recorded the highest growth annually, with a 10.3% price increase over the year. Busselton came in at a close second, with an annual rise of 10% in its median house price.

Rental market in the regional centres

Seven of the nine regional centres posted rises in the median weekly rent over the quarter in the rental market, while one stayed the same and one experienced a dip.

Median weekly rent for regional WA

Regional centre Median weekly rent price Three-month change 12-month change
Albany $455 +1.1% +13.8%
Broome $1,000 +7.5% +28.2%
Bunbury $540 +4.9% +16.1%
Busselton $650 +3.2% +8.8%
Esperance $425 +26.9% +18.1%
Geraldton $400 +11.1% +9.6%
Kalgoorlie $550 +0.0% +10.0%
Karratha $1,000 +17.6% +29.9%
Port Hedland $800 -5.9% +15.1%

Source: REIWA.

The top performer here was Esperance, with median weekly rents rising by 26.9% to $425, also the most significant quarterly change for a region since 2007.

“As with all regional centres, rental conditions are very tight in Esperance,” White said.

“Investors have sold their properties and they are being purchased by owner-occupiers rather than other investors. It’s a common occurrence across the state.

“This gap between supply and demand continues to put pressure on rent prices.”

The second best performer was Karratha, where the median weekly rents grew by 17.6% over the quarter to $1,000.

With the rental situation worsening in the regional areas, White said that employers were turning to alternative solutions to house their workers.

“Members have reported several instances of large organisations purchasing motel
accommodation to house their workers,” he said.

“We’re also aware of a local shire and small businesses purchasing investment properties for their workers to live in.”

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