Nila Sweeney

With property prices falling even further in Perth, first homebuyers are out in force snapping up properties at the lower end according to a new report.

Sales volume jumped 13% in the June quarter after the median house price in Perth dropped 10% since December 2007, according to the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA).

REIWA president Bob Druitt said the surge in activity was driven by the increasing number of first home buyers who are getting back into the market and generally buying low-priced property.

Perth's median house values dropped to $426,000 in the same period - the third consecutive quarter in which the housing market had shown a general fall in median house prices.

"It seems that the fallout from the US sub-prime crisis and recent interest rate uncertainty has also contributed to low consumer sentiment in sections of the property market," Druitt said.

A clear sign of the slowing market, the number of selling days for Perth properties has stretched out even further, from 74 days in June to 79 days this quarter, according to the report.

However, some areas are defying the current downturn in Perth. These include Joondalup North, the western suburbs and Rockingham/Kwinana. Prices in the region of Armadale/Serpentine remained flat.

In other parts of the state, the Mandurah/Murray region showed it was slumping as well, with median prices dropping 6% since the June quarter. Similar performance could be seen in Kalgoorlie/Boulder, where the median price was down 5% from June to September. Greater Bunbury (up 1%) and Geraldton/Greenough (down 1%) showed more stable markets.

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