New signs Sydney’s white-hot property market is cooling for the first time in years has exposed Wagga’s deep property divide with the big smoke.
Experts were predicting a surge in the city’s house prices on the back of Sydney’s record double-digit growth, with some forecasts pointing to 10 per cent growth for Wagga homes this year.
However, the is underwhelming growth for homeowners – and agents say Wagga is still a clear buyer’s market.
“Our prices haven't really increased much,” Hore and Davies director Sue Alleva said.
“The booms have only been in Sydney and Melbourne, but we have seen record sales as a result … all the big gurus in the city are saying ‘rent where you want to live and buy an investment property where you can afford it’ – we’ve taken advantage of that.”
At the peak of Sydney’s property boom, there was belief that regional areas such as Wagga would follow suit, as had been the case in previous upswings.
But Sydney’s boom pressed ahead, and some say continues to press ahead, on its own – a housing bubble to the exclusion of other cities.
Wagga valuer Craig Barrett, who is Opteon Property Group’s southern inland director, said a key point of difference between Wagga and Sydney is population growth.
“Sydney seems to be attracting a lot of migrants and continues to get a big influx of people,” he said. “We’ve got reasonable growth, but nowhere near the growth that they have. So while there is an air of positivity in Wagga, we haven’t seen any significant movements in price.”
According to Domain Group, which is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of The Daily Advertiser, the city’s median house price has grown by 3.9 per cent over the past year.
Mr Barrett said the last house price “burst” in Wagga occurred between 2000 and 2007, dropping off amid the Global Financial Crisis.
“We’ve probably been fairly static since 2008,” he said. “There’s really no reason why Sydney correlates with Wagga. In that sense, we haven’t really had significant price rises so therefore we’re unlikely to see any significant price falls.”
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