Paul Blackburne, Blackburne Property Group
Where I would invest – WA Edition
Northbridge: This area is full of restaurants, cafes, bars and shops and is right next to Perth City. Chinatown is located in Northbridge, and property prices are still relatively low. The new Citi Link project will link Northbridge to Perth. The area will become far more connected to the Perth CBD and I expect this to lead to an increase in property prices.
Highgate: This trendy inner-city suburb is located right next to Northbridge. Traditionally, this has been a ‘rough’ area of Perth, with many old sites and rundown houses. In recent years the suburb has undergone a massive revitalisation and is now the preferred place to live for young professionals.
Swanbourne/Nedlands: Traditionally, the western suburbs have been unaffordable for most people. New planning guidelines are now allowing apartments to be built within the existing high-end housing suburbs. These suburbs are close to Perth’s prime beaches and surrounded by multimillion-dollar homes. Swanbourne is located right next to the world-famous Cottesloe beach and only 9km from the CBD, so it should perform well if you buy under the median house price.
Rockingham: Rockingham is a hidden gem just 45 minutes from the Perth CBD and its beachfront location features some of the best beaches in the world. Property prices are very low, so there is strong potential for growth here. The area has had a higher-than-average rate of crime and social problems; however, that is now starting to change, which we expect will lead to increases in property prices.
Areas I would avoid
Karratha: Karratha has seen significant growth on the back of the mining boom. However, while people who purchased many years ago have done very well, we believe property prices are so high that there is little prospect for growth moving forward. Rental returns are strong; however, there is also some risk of softening rentals, which we are already starting to see. We see that rents will most likely remain fairly strong, but prices will fall by around 20–30% so that they are about equal to those in Perth.
Port Hedland: As per Karratha.
Armadale: This area of Perth is a long way from the city, and as it is inland there are no beaches nearby. Perth has so many new coastal communities north and south of the city with great beaches that we think these new areas will perform stronger than inland/outer suburban areas such as Armadale. Armadale will still have growth; however, there are other areas that we feel will outperform it. There are also significant social issues and crime in the area, which has dampened property prices.
Mandurah: This coastal area one hour south of Perth underwent a significant property boom from 2005 to 2007. Prices have since fallen by 20–30% in many areas, and we think there is very limited scope for price increases moving forward. The rental market is weak and there is little government investment in the area.
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