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Now’s the time to buy a house in WA: Billionaire Kerry Stokes stakes reputation on perfect property


Billionaire Kerry Stokes has added his weight to the view that conditions are ideal for entering the housing market, staking his reputation on now being the best time to take the plunge.

The Seven Group Holdings and Seven West Media chairman said the situation came as the State showed it was recovering from the shock of miners cutting their costs by a combined $10 billion in recent years.

“Right now any young person out there, any apprentice, worker, tradesman — the best thing they’ll ever do in their life is walk out this weekend and buy a home in Western Australia,” Mr Stokes told a WestBusinessLeadership Matters event on Tuesday.

“With interest rates low, housing prices low, this is the time to think of their future right now. I’d put my reputation on the fact this is the best time for them to do that,” he said.

“If that’s the case and everybody else agrees with that, then we’re past the bottom.”

Mr Stokes’ remarks follow Housing Industry Association figures showing affordability in WA had improved dramatically, in part because of national efforts to tighten bank lending standards for investors.

In the past two years, loan repayments on a median-priced house in Perth fell by more than $260 a month, or $3120 a year. Elsewhere in WA, they fell to $1545 from $1773 a month.

However, a report yesterday showed Perth had the nation’s second-most expensive residential land prices at $730 per square metre, a 5 per cent gain over the year to June. The Housing Industry Association-CoreLogic Residential Land Report said land prices rose by 19.6 per cent in Melbourne and 9.8 per cent in Sydney.

Mr Stokes said the State’s economy was showing signs of improvement after miners’ efforts to improve efficiency had contributed to the downturn.

“So when they’ve saved some $10 billion in costs that’s supposed to come out of workforces in WA. That’s a shock we have to get over and we’re actually getting over it now.”

WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt told the event that competition in the retail gas market had largely offset the increases the McGowan Government had imposed on electricity tariffs.

Discounts of up to 30 per cent are on offer with new player Origin Energy this month, joining AGL, Kleenheat and Alinta in the gas price war.

Mr Wyatt said that situation could last until the early 2020s.

Incoming Wesfarmers chief executive Rob Scott said while the loss of disposable income and lower population had hit retail businesses hard, there was cause for optimism.

“We still see opportunities,” Mr Scott said. “We see a good path for growth.”

Source: The West Australian, 24 October 2017.

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