After being squeezed out of the property market in Perth over the past couple of years, first homebuyers are now becoming a major force in it again.
President of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) Rob Druitt said first-time buyers now represent 32% of the overall market, thanks to the recent boost in the First Home Owner Grant.
"The level of activity by first homebuyers is the saviour in the current flat market," he said.
The Perth housing market dropped for the third consecutive quarter - a trend not seen since 1982 when the median house price fell 10.5% - and the overall median house price tumbled more than 2% in the September quarter to $435,000.
"The Perth housing market is heading into 'uncharted territory'," Druitt said. "The high number of sales at the lower end of the market is having the effect of pulling the overall median price down."
Despite the unwelcome drop in prices, Druitt pointed out that there were still a number of regional sub-markets that experienced growth during the September quarter.
"These pockets of growth covered all market sectors, from first homebuyers in Armadale/Serpentine, Swan and the north-eastern part of the City of Wanneroo, to the trade-up markets in South Perth/Victoria Park, Fremantle and the northern parts of the City of Joondalip," he explained.
A surprise return to positive price growth was also observed in Perth's affluent western suburbs, which has seen falling values over the past few months.