THE number of property sales in the Warrnambool area more than halved in the six months to May this year — but house prices rose by 1.3 per cent on the same period last year.
PRDnationwide Warrnambool principal Brad Miller said inquiry levels for properties remained subdued and the number of properties relatively high, presenting ideal conditions for buyers.
The PRDnationwide’s Property Watch Warrnambool area report said there had been 98 property sales in the Warrnambool area in the six months to May this year, a 54.2 per cent decline on the 214 sold in the six months to May 2011.
Unit sales showed a similar trend, with only 26 sales for the six months to May this year — a 49 per cent drop on the 51 sales for the same period in 2011.
The report said median price for houses in the Warrnambool area was $320,000 in May, up 1.3 per cent on the same period last year.
Five-year growth rates for Warrnambool house prices stood at a modest 3.4 per cent per annum, compared to the much stronger longer-term growth of 6.5 per cent.
Matt Northeast, of Northeast Stockdale and Leggo real estate, agreed with the report’s finding that house prices in Warrnambool had held firm in the lower to mid-price market but said values at the higher end had dropped by five to 10 per cent.
While the report said house prices overall rose marginally, the median price for units in the city fell to $242,750, down by 4.8 per cent on the previous year’s median price and leaving a five-year growth rate of only 0.7 per cent.
However, other Warrnambool real estate agents challenged the report’s position on the city’ unit market.
Ludeman Real Estate director Mark Dwyer said his firm had found the demand for units to be strong in recent months.
Mr Northeast also disputed the report’s finding that the market for units in Warrnambool had eased significantly. “We have had excellent results and high demand in this area,” he said.
On Warrnambool’s rental market, the two firms had different views.
Mr Dwyer said he did no believe there was a glut of rental properties.
But Mr Northeast believed there was a large supply of places to rent, leading to a “softening” of rental prices in the past six months.
The report said vacant land prices closed the six months to May this year at $140,000, the same as 12 months ago.