THE once-strong Orange housing market proved it was not invincible in the last quarter, with the latest figures from Australian Property Monitors (APM) showing house prices dropped by 5.4 per cent.
APM’s quarterly housing report showed the median price of a house in Orange dropped from $349,000 to $330,000 in the last quarter.
APM senior economist Andrew Wilson said while prices had risen slightly, by 1.7 per cent, when compared to the same time last year, the decline in recent months was surprising.
“The figures show an atypical weakness in the Orange market, which has been solid in recent years,” he said.
“It’s always shown the same sort of energy as the Sydney market has and this result goes against trends we’re seeing in other similar regions.
“Sydney prices are still stratospheric. Sydney’s median house price has smashed through the $800,000 barrier to a new record high.
“Over the 2014 financial year, the Sydney median house price increased by 17.0 per cent or just under $118,000. Areas like Newcastle and Wollongong are experiencing double-figure price growth.”
Dr Wilson said the strength of the Sydney market may eventually pay dividends for the Orange market as tree-changers or people looking for a weekender realised how relatively affordable prices were in Orange.
Dr Wilson said economic uncertainty, including the impending closure of Electrolux’s Orange factory, may have contributed to the downturn.
He said there was some light at the end of the tunnel with housing prices predicted to improve within the next 12 months.
Peter Fisher The Property Shop residential sales expert Hunter Ridley said the Orange property market was not all doom and gloom.
“I don’t think the prices will drop any further than they have. I think prospects are generally good for the next 12 months,” he said.
Mr Ridley believed the negative economic impact of the closure of Electrolux was being overestimated by all sectors of business.