Property Slump

Reporter: Natalie Bonjolo

In the past few years, Perth's property market has had more twists and turns than a Hitchcock thriller, and just as terrifying.

It's a plot, few predicted. An unprecedented boom, absolutely humungous as properties values reached for the sky....and then....a world of worry as money melted down, and property went from go, to WHOA.

While other capital cities have seen an increase in the past twelve months, Perth prices have been, well there's no other way to put it...stuffed.

Down ten percent since the start of the year. On the average home, that's about forty grand down the gurgler.

The Real Estate Institute is doing what all good sales folk do...talking things up, with President Rob Druitt admitting it's been more than a bit rough.

Meet the Searles. They live in Munster. A nice three by two with a pool. Their place has been on the market eight weeks. With not a bite, not a nibble. Zip.

Like many families they're wondering what to do next. Buy, sell, or stay put. We asked several Perth experts for their take on things...answers to some burning questions:

So firstly, have we hit the bottom and when will it bounce back?

"I really believe the market may correct another 5% and that's it, we're not far from the bottom...were probably seeing the Perth market move through the bottom of the cycle now" says Nigel.

While many forecasters aren't prepared to make predictions, property baron, Nigel Satterely isn't so shy.

RP Data have crunched the numbers, and Tim Lawless reckons Perth is on the rebound.

"If you can hold onto your property another six months or so, and by then the selling conditions should improve" says Tim.

"I think in WA were going to see a surge in values in prices over the next six to nine months" says Simon Moore Hegney.

Since the government announced its increase in the first homebuyers grant, Simon Moore from Hegney Property is getting ready for the rush.

"I think the next six to nine months will be about the first homebuyer properties and in the second half of 2009 we will probably see an increase in activity in the trade up market".

So, most agree it's at, or very close to the bottom, and they're expecting prices to pick up in the next six months.

So, when's a good time to sell?

If you bought before boom, Rob reckons you'll still do well.

"overall a lot of people who bought into the market and owned property 3, 4, 5 years have great equity in their homes, yes they have come back a bit, but it's certainly not doomsday situation, nothing like the states where they have seen erosion of prices fifty percent".

What will be the best investment, land, home, or units?

"Land has come down in price, there's fierce competition amongst developers the top selling sud divisions in Perth their sales have dropped fifty percent, the price has come back five percent, their selling but at a lower rate" says Nigel.

While developers push their product, agents are sticking with established suburbs.

What suburbs do the insiders suggest?

Nigel's pick in the South are:

Spearwood

Waikiki

Warbro

North

Craigie

Padbury

Clarkson

Simon's suggests in the South

Ferndale

East Victoria Park

Riverton

North

Craigie

Hamersley

Beldon

Dawn Gibson's been writing property reports for The West Australian for twelve years, as a result of the boom, she believes Perth will never be the cheap city again.

"There were some eastern states commentators predicting Perth would crash but I have always personally thought our employment was high, the resource boom is ongoing so therefore prices may go down a bit but are unlikely to plummet like Sydney".

Paul Bitdorf builds high density homes on small pockets of land, in established areas, such as this Niche project in Bentley He claims Perth is STILL affordable.

"If you can get a house land fully furnished and I'm talking finished with blinds carpet reticulation gardens for $299, 000 who can beat us...Tasmania maybe?"

So if you take on board the experts tips, it's a buyer's paradise, but don't expect prices to crash. While the market may soon get a kick start, with interest rates set to fall, analysts believe it's unlikely we'll see another boom for many years yet.