DEMAND for "old" Bunbury helped it out-perform Busselton as the top performing regional centre during the December 2022 quarter.
Latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) show Bunbury's median house price rose 2.3 per cent to $420,000 for the final quarter of 2022 and 9.1pc for the year in total.
Busselton recorded 1.5pc growth to a median of $660,000 for the quarter and was again the top performer annually with 20pc price growth.
REIWA president Joe White said there had been a lot of interest in "old" Bunbury recently.
"What has been selling lately are older homes on good-sized blocks near the beach, such as in Usher, Withers and Carey Park," Mr White said.
"These are cheaper areas and offer good value for money.
"It is a case of the worst house in the best street.
"These properties offer opportunities to renovate or build close to the coast - in areas that are likely to see some rejuvenation in future."
Mr White said, overall, Bunbury was a robust area offering a range of employment opportunities.
He said it was good to see more young people buying in the area.
"The local education facilities appeal to families," he said.
"While we're also seeing older residents stay in town as available health care improves."
The northern WA centres of Karratha and Port Hedland were the next best performers in the December 2022 quarter - with 1.9pc and 1.8pc growth in median house values respectively.
Most WA regions showed moderate price growth or remained stable over the fourth quarter of 2022, Mr White said.
He said all regional centres saw median house prices increase over the year.
"Like Perth, the regions are showing resilience in the face of interest rate rises," he said.
"A strong economy, low unemployment, affordable housing and ongoing population growth, which will be further boosted by the State government's recruitment drive, will continue to support the WA market.
"It won't just be Perth that benefits from the push to attract workers from the United Kingdom.
"Some migrants will move to the regions, which will support those property markets as well."
Mr White said the State government's investment in ports would also benefit regional centres.
"The McGowan government is investing $332 million to optimise growth at Geraldton Port and $10.7m to improve Bunbury and Esperance Ports," he said.
"And the Federal government has announced a $565m funding boost for Pilbara Ports.
"Infrastructure upgrades such as this are extremely beneficial for regional areas.
"Look at the effect the Busselton airport redevelopment had on Busselton, Dunsborough, Margaret River and Bunbury.
"Investment in ports, particularly those that export a variety of goods, will have a flow-on effect to local economies and employment, to continue the population growth in regional centres."
When it came to the rental market, the results were mixed.
The REIWA data showed five centres had a median rent price increase and four decreased.
The best performers during the quarter were in the North West, with Broome recording 19.3pc growth, followed by Port Hedland with 12.9pc.
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