Aspirational Suburbs

Reporter: Belinda Wilkinson

The truth, is property prices go down, just as quickly as they go up....a volatile roller coaster ride. "At the moment we're really seeing the Perth market is two tiered I guess, the upper end of the market is still showing fairly solid growth but it's really the lower end of the market where people are a lot more highly geared and most susceptible to higher interest rates and we're probably seeing a bit of a correction of prices taking place as we speak."

BIS Shrapnel predicts the average Perth home will fall from $446,500 to $425,000 by 2010. A five per cent drop, worth more than twenty thousand dollars. Market analyst Angie Zigomanis. "We're probably talking more so the middle to low end of the market, we'll see the most impact on prices and we're really talking about the houses that are in the outer ring suburbs rather than in the middle ring suburbs and these are the areas where people are most exposed in terms of rising interest rates." And it seems WA's booming resources industry won't stop the downward trend. The boom may well be over. "In terms of house prices I think it is, I think you still might find some demand at the top end of the market there's probably a lot of people who had 20 cent shares 5 years ago that are now worth $4 that can still afford properties at that end but in terms of the general pay as you earn wage earner their people who I think yeah the boom is over for those people."

But it's not all doom and gloom. Gavin Hegney from Hegney Property Group says there's still a way the average worker can make a dollar in Perth's real estate - by buying houses in what he calls "aspirational suburbs". "The aspirational suburbs of tomorrow are the suburbs that we can afford today, that we won't be able to afford tomorrow."

An aspirational suburb is a place where homes are undervalued. But the suburb is nonetheless desirable. In years to come, the home will increase significantly. 17 years ago, these were Perth's aspirational suburbs. Back then, most homes were affordable. But over time, the increase has been phenomenal...The median house rose by as much as 2 and a half million dollars.

Gavin now predicts Perth's next aspirational suburbs. First on his list, Coogee, south of Fremantle. "Coogee's been started from the ground up, it's a master plan community, it's where there's marinas, boating, swimming and very on the doorstep of Fremantle"

Alkimos, a coastal development forty kilometres north of Perth. "It's on the coast we have a love affair with the beach and the ocean, it's also designed in such a way that we can design houses that maximise use of sunlight, minimise heating cooling costs, It's an environmentally sensitive development which'll tap into our future trends." And Gavin says the fifty minute drive to Perth's CBD won't deter people from buying.

"In the future we perhaps won't need to drive to work 5 days a week coz our improved communication and on that basis we'll want to live where we want to be and if a lifestyle's offered a distance from the cbd, then that's where people will live."

Closer to the city, Gavin favours Subiaco and Leederville. While they're expensive, he says they're not overpriced and will grow. "When we look at an area like Subiaco for instance it's a very fashionable area today and will continue to grow in stature as time goes. It's where everything meets, shopping, footy, trains, night life, restaurants, and I think that's what we're looking for is that vibrancy."

Gavin predicts the current demand for penthouses will also grow. The lavish apartments have hit record highs. And if you've got the money, it's no wonder. This penthouse in North Fremantle's got 4 bedrooms, massive study, 3 bathrooms - the main...marble flooring with his n hers vanities and separate showers, a bath overlooking the river, a climate controlled cellar for more than a thousand bottles of wine, communal pool, tennis court, and gym.

It's also got one of the biggest balconies in Perth, comes with its own boat pen for a quick trip to Rotto, and this 9 million dollar penthouse will sell in half the time of an average house in Perth.

Angie says "I think you still need a roof over your head and if you're still looking to buy anytime is the best time to get into the market, but if you're really looking for pure investment perspective you might be better off sitting out and renting for a while longer and keeping your eye out for bargains."