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Ross Greenwood - 9News - 29 Jan - Full Story

The one clear message that comes from this survey is that Western Australia remains at the foot of this table, easily eclipsed by the eastern states.

The big question is whether it gives a further hint that Western Australia might be the best housing market in the country, in terms of affordability and capability of growth.

Note that West Australian house prices have fallen for pretty much four years now, as mining investment fell off a cliff and employment opportunities evaporated.

And this might be the most valuable hint from the whole survey. If you look at the latest CoreLogic monthly data, Perth house prices average $484,562 compared with Melbourne's $832,735 and Sydney's $1.05 million. The prices fell 2.6 percent in 2017.

The oddity of the Perth market is that rents are clearly weaker than in other states. The yield on a Perth house is 3.8 percent – compared with 4.9 percent in Hobart, 5.7 percent in Darwin and 4.1 percent in Canberra and Brisbane. This is a direct reflection of the affordability of renters, weak wages growth and higher unemployment.

The key to Perth, and the turnaround in its fortunes, is to watch the iron ore price (now up from lows of around $US31 per tonne in early 2016 to more than $US76 per tonne today) and the demand for labour

In 2017, 50,000 more people were employed in Western Australia to a total 1.34 million, and unemployment fell by about 9000.

More people employed means more people capable of paying higher rents or buying houses.

If there's one market where I think there's a prospect of growth, it's Perth.

That said, I would always keep watching those iron ore prices. History tells us Perth is highly cyclical, and reliant on the commodities cycle.

Ross Greenwood - 9News - 29 Jan - Full Story