Horsham Property Watch Q3 2011

This report analyses the current trends and performance of the Horsham Local Government Areas (LGA) house and vacant land and unit markets. It further highlights the areas characteristics and demographic trends to provide an understanding of the type of real estate product in demand by the local market.

Area Characteristics
Located in the western part of Victoria, the Horsham LGA encompasses an area of 4,239 square kilometres comprising a total of 39 suburbs. The suburb of Horsham represents the capital of the region, which laid claim as Australias tidiest town in 2001. The continued community pride is evident throughout the town, with a vibrant cafe and restaurant precinct, quality amenity and the reputable Horsham golf course just a few of the amenities on offer. The township lies at the intersection of three major highways including the Wimmera, the Henty and Western Highway, which remains the major thoroughfare linking Melbourne to Adelaide.

Horsham LGA House Market
The Horsham region house median price reached a new high when it closed the six months to March 2011 at $190,000. The median was up $8,750 on the previous year, which represents annual growth of 4.8%.

Sales volumes were at the lowest level in the last decade, showing a 49% decrease on the five year average for a six month period. It should be noted that this trend has occurred across the Victorian market with falls of 50% and more not being uncommon.

Over the last five years the market has been typified by fluctuating median prices and lower sales volumes. The average annual growth over the last five years has been just 2% compared to the previous five years which showed an 11.4% average annual growth. Sales volumes have averaged 187 transactions for a six month period since March 2006, whereas the five years prior to this had averaged 223 transactions.

There is little doubt that the long drought has effected the area significantly given the reliance on the agricultural industry. It remains to be seen if the upturn in the median price over the last six months is part of a longer term correction, now that the drought has broken, and the benefits of more typical production levels are starting to flow into the community.

The price points graph shows some trends away from the lower price brackets and towards the higher brackets. The share of sales under $100,000 has halved from 15% in the six months to March 2009 to 7% at March 2011. Sales over $200,000 have moved from 33% of all sales to 47% over the same period. The $100,000 to $200,000 bracket still dominates the market with 45% of all sales.

Horsham LGA House Market (cont.)
An analysis of houses that have been purchased and resold in the last ten years shows the average annual capital growth at a healthy 9.9%. Whilst excessively high returns are removed from the analysis, there is still room for renovation to impact this figure.

Whilst Horsham dominated house sales recording 81 of the 95 sales for the six months to March 2011, the peak of the market was achieved for a property in Grahams Bridge Road when it sold for $550,000 in March 2011.

Horsham LGA Vacant Land Market
The median price levelled off at $87,500 for the six months to March 2011, having gone through unprecedented growth in the year prior. Despite the small decrease in the median from the previous six month period, the annual growth remained an exceptionally strong 23.2%. This compares with a ten year growth rate of 9.3% per annum.

In line with the housing market, and other regions the Horsham vacant land market was well down on normal sales activity levels. The 29 sales to March 2011 represent a 46% decrease on five year average sales levels.

The price points graph to the right shows some movement towards the higher end price brackets. Sales above $100,000 have grown from 24% of sales in March 2009 to 31% at March 2011, a 23% increase. The $50,000 to $99,000 bracket continues to attract the largest portion of sales at 41%. Sales below $50,000 had shrunk to only 7% for the six months to September 2010, but have rebounded to a significant 28% of the market.

The 29 vacant land transactions were well spread across the region, with Horsham accounting for the highest number at 13. The balance of sales were made up between Dadswells Bridge, Haven, Jung, Mitre, Natimuk, Noradjuha and Pimpinio. The peak of the market was achieved for a property adjacent to Burnt Creek One in Horsham, when it transacted for $173,000 in January 2011.

Horsham LGA Emerging Unit Market
Having achieved a peak of $218,500 for the six months to March 2010, the median has retreated to $188,500. Surprisingly this figure is only $1,500 below that for houses. The ten year average annual growth for units is 7.2% compared to 6.6% for houses.

Unit sales have averaged 27 transactions for a six month period over the last ten years. Typical of the other categories this level has suffered a significant fall in the six months to March 2011 recording only 10 transactions.

Whilst sales under $100,000 have typically represented just over 10% of sales in the housing market over the last two years, there have been no sales below $100,000 for units.

The regional centre of Horsham dominates sales, with the only one sale occurring elsewhere in the region in the last five years, at Lower Norton. The peak of the market was achieved when a unit close to the hospital, in Smith Street, Horsham transacted for $325.000 in January 2011. A unit in Dimboola Road, Horsham was the lowest value sale for the six months to March 2011, when it transacted for $128,000 in February 2011