Property market ‘steady’

THE local property market has good fundamentals and is holding steady, real estate professionals have said.

This comes after the State Government announced it would not extend the $19,500 first home buyers bonus, while banks passed on home loan interest rate cuts from 0.32 to 0.4 per cent.

Speaking to The Express recently, John Kerr Real Estate director Robert Sim said Latrobe Valley’s real estate market would not necessarily be strongly impacted.

“Here in the Valley, we are not necessarily driven by bull or bear markets,” Mr Sim said.

“The fundamentals of the area carry through.

“I expect it to remain steady for the next 12 months; I’m certainly not expecting a decline.”

While a recurring sentiment among property pundits was the removal of the state bonus would dampen the market, the “lowest interest rates in a decade” would counteract it to an extent”, according to Stockdale and Leggo Latrobe Valley director Jim Demetrios.

“It would have been beneficial for the bonus to remain due to the fact the real estate market has slowed down especially at the top end of the market,” Mr Demetrios said.

“However, on the lower and medium end, prices are not increasing but have stabilised.”

Mr Demetrios said the residential market was strong across the Valley.

“The relative median prices are moving at a reasonable rate; people are taking longer to make decisions and are selective about what’s available.

He said for investors, the towns of Churchill, Morwell and Traralgon were experiencing vacancy rates of 1.5 per cent, making it an attractive property play.

Meanwhile, Wilson Property managing director Ben Wilson was more cautious, saying the market had been “erratic” in general.

“Turnover is still quite strong, but owner-occupiers and upgraders have been the majority of buyers,” Mr Wilson said.

“We’ve seen first time buyers drop out of the market over the past 12 months on the back of interest rate uncertainty and property prices.”

However, Mr Wilson liked the commercial property sector, saying national companies like JB Hi-Fi and Bunnings coming into Traralgon was a promising indicator.

“They would not have come to town if there wasn’t any confidence in the region,” he said.