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More suburbs in $1m club
Beach life: Mel and Tim Keane with sons Aidan, Noah and dog Lucy at Watermans Bay. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Perth's property market has had a dramatic jump in the number of suburbs boasting a median house price of $1 million or more, with an increase of 48 per cent in just a year.

Northbridge, Watermans Bay, East Perth, Trigg, North Fremantle, Salter Point, Jolimont, Wembley Downs, Daglish and Rossmoyne joined the million-dollar median club last year.

There are now 31 suburbs in the ranks, according to preliminary Real Estate Institute of WA data, compared with 21 suburbs in 2012.

Two decades ago, no Perth suburb had a million-dollar median.

In 2003, Peppermint Grove and Dalkeith were the only locales to lay claim to the title.

Wembley Downs ($1.045 million) and Rossmoyne ($1.037 million) made their million-dollar median club debuts last year.

All other 2013 entrants have claimed a seven-figure median in the past, notably during the heyday of the property boom.

Northern coastal Trigg has dipped in and out of the club since 2007, as has riverside Salter Point, which fell out of the club in 2009 and 2010.

Northbridge scraped its way into the club last year with just two sales, boosting its median to $1,167,500.

REIWA president David Airey said trade-up buyers, population growth and strong first-homebuyer activity boosted the million-dollar median club's growth.

"Baby boomer and other trade-up buyers who are now in their 50s or older have successfully accumulated wealth over the past three decades, putting them in reach of their dream location and increasing the number of blue-chip suburbs," he said.

"The influx of international buyers used to paying much more for property overseas sometimes elevates sale prices in once sleepy suburbs."

Curtin University professor of sustainability Peter Newman said land value was shaped by access to the beach and river, city and rail lines and good schools.

"The new members of the club are all fitting at least one of these criteria," Professor Newman said.

"East Perth and Northbridge reflect the new-found vibrancy in the city, Rossmoyne and Wembley Downs are well-known for their access to schools.

"Watermans and Trigg are the new City Beach."

Property valuer Gavin Hegney said the million-dollar suburbs showed trade-up buyers were becoming more active. "This is likely to continue in 2014," he said.

"Most of the suburbs can offer more affordable opportunities for buyers looking at apartments and townhouses to enjoy the million-dollar lifestyle at a fraction of the million-dollar price tag."

Linda Janice Phillips, an economist at Propell National Valuers, said the million-dollar median club's growth showed there was still plenty of Perth wealth being put into residential real estate.

"This is a story of buyers bidding up prime locations that are in short supply and the million- dollar price tag is not stopping them," she said.

The growth in land values during the middle of the last decade has led to many people becoming instant millionaires, according to Urban Development Institute of WA chief executive Debra Goostrey.

"Owning a million-dollar home is no longer limited to the elite, however, buying a million-dollar home takes a household income three times the Perth median so it tends to be self limiting," she said.

After living in Trigg for years, Mel and Tim Keane are making the leap from one million-dollar median suburb to another.

Their family of four are about to move into a $1.2 million four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Watermans Bay.

"We wanted a view and we wanted to be able to walk to the beach," Mrs Keane said.

She said Watermans Bay was more affordable in terms of houses that did not need much work.