Busselton is WA’s best performing regional centre in 2022

Busselton was the top-performing regional centre across Western Australia during the March 2022 quarter, with prices increasing 5.5 per cent to $580,000.

Data from the Real Estate Institute of WA (REIWA) found eight of the nine regional centres recorded price growth during the quarter, with all nine centres recording increases on an annual basis.

REIWA Deputy President Joe White said price growth was widespread across regional WA during the March 2022 quarter, with the Busselton regional centre the stand-out performer.

“The impressive price growth recorded in the Busselton regional centre during the quarter can largely be attributed to a shortage of available housing in the region,” Mr White said.

Supply continues to be incredibly tight in regional WA with data showing listings fell more than 21 per cent in the Busselton regional centre during the quarter and were down 42 per cent compared to the March 2021 quarter.

“With less stock available, this has turned the heat up amongst buyers, forcing them to be more competitive when putting an offer on a property and pushing up the regional centre’s median price,” Mr White said.

“We’ve also seen an increase in interest in the Busselton regional centre from people living in Perth and interstate which has contributed to demand.

“Now that there are direct flights available from Melbourne to the Busselton Margaret River Airport, it will be interesting to observe what impact this has on house prices in the region moving forward.”

Other regional centres to record increases in median house prices during the quarter were Port Hedland (up 3.9 per cent), Geraldton (up 3.6 per cent) and Kalgoorlie (up 3.1 per cent).

“Living regionally is becoming more accessible than ever with employers increasingly shifting to a work-from-home flexible business model,” Mr White said.

“This has opened the door for people who previously needed to remain in the city for work, to look outside of the metro area to the growing opportunity in the regions.”

Port Hedland leads annual price growth

All nine regional centres recorded price growth over the past 12 months, led by the mining town of Port Hedland which saw its median sales price increase 40.6 per cent to $457,000.

Mr White said a combination of factors were contributing to Port Hedland’s strong price growth.

“The Pilbara’s thriving commodity market has had a positive impact on house prices in Port Hedland, particularly as the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the mindset of mining companies towards favouring a more localised workforce,” he said.

“Another key contributor was the success of the Voluntary Buy-Back Scheme in Port Hedland’s West End that the WA Government agreed to back in June 2020. 

“The scheme gives eligible residential property owners the opportunity to sell their property for a government-guaranteed premium market price.

“With more than 100 properties sold through the Voluntary Buy-Back Scheme in 2021 alone, this has had, and will continue to have, an impact on median house price growth in the Port Hedland regional centre.”

All other major WA regional centres have seen strong growth over the past 12 months led by Geraldton (up 21 per cent), Broome (up 17.5 per cent) and Busselton (up 12.6 per cent).

“REIWA anticipates that WA’s strong economy and forecast 1.2 per cent population growth, coupled with the state’s housing shortage, will maintain demand for properties in the regions and continue to drive price growth,” Mr White said.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.