A family of three walk along a beach to the backdrop of a sunset

Regional WA tourist hotspots Broome and Busselton feeling the house price boom

Western Australia’s coastal holiday hotspots Broome and Busselton are experiencing surging house prices, with real estate agents reporting increased interest in regional living from city dwellers.

New data released by the Real Estate Institute of WA (REIWA) shows both locations were the top-performing regional centers in the June quarter.

Broome’s median house sale price lifted 4.7 per cent in the past three months to $649,000, while Busselton’s increased by 4.5 per cent to $610,000.

On an annual basis, both areas saw more than 15 per cent growth in housing prices.

REIWA deputy president Joe White said price growth was being driven by people migrating from the cities.

“The local market [in Broome] is strong and demand for property is high with many people moving to the regional center for a sea change,” he said.

“There is also the FIFO factor, with three companies now flying workers directly out of the Busselton Margaret River Airport.”

Busselton is the most popular city south of Perth for real estate.(Flickr: Jean and Fred Hort)

‘Undervalued’ suburbs also booming

It is not just the popular seaside communities seeing growth — locations that are typically more affordable are also feeling the heat.

The suburb of Carey Park in Bunbury, two hours south of Perth, has normally had cheaper house prices, but local real estate agents said that it was starting to change.

A for sale sign in front of a house on a suburban street.
Real estate agents are accepting offers on houses in Carey Park before the first open home has even been held. (ABC South West WA: Anthony Pancia)

Bunbury-based agent Melanie Hurst said some areas had been overlooked until now.

“Carey Park, traditionally it’s been undervalued,” she said.

“Because for a long time rents were low, houses prices were low, but that has all changed probably in the last 18 months.”

REIWA south-west branch president Drew Carey agreed.

“I think probably those areas are going to enjoy a bit of a renaissance to get them up to what I would consider to be long overdue par value,” he said.

“I think longer term we’re going to continue to see prices continue to travel up in WA, at least compared to the eastern states.”

High prices not good for everyone

But the increase in housing prices puts more pressure on regional centers already experiencing housing stress.

A drone shot of a regional suburb with houses and trees and playgrounds
Experts say traditionally lower socio-economic suburbs like Carey Park have been undervalued until now. (ABC South West WA: Anthony Pancia)

Just Home Margaret River community development officer Geraldine Clark said her organization had seen an increase of people experiencing homelessness.

“There are very little rentals, very few houses for sale, and the prices of both are enormous,” she said.

“We’re not just lacking social housing and affordable housing, we’re lacking housing in all facets now.”