While house prices and rental values remain at an all-time high, realtors say the Margaret River region’s great real estate boom after the height of the pandemic is starting to wind down. The key driver of the latest figures provided by the Real Estate Institute of WA shows the number of properties listed were now decreasing month by month. While buyers still had an appetite for homes and investment apartments across the Capes region, which was keeping prices buoyant, many owners had already taken up the opportunity to cash in, leading to a drain on new housing stocks. Meanwhile, shortages in trade workers and ongoing supply chain hassles were slowing up the completion rate for new homes ordered during the pandemic boom. REIWA president Joe White, a Dunsborough-based realtor, told the Times the drying up of new listings augured a wider slowdown for the sector. “Listings are as low as I have seen them,” he said. “Price sensitivity is definitely creeping in, though well-priced houses are selling well.” In the Margaret River catchments, preliminary sales figures were down 11 per cent on the previous quarter and down 27 per cent from the same time last year. However, the squeeze on listings was contributing to an uptick in further house values, with the median house price of $668,500 up 5.3 per cent on the December quarter and 14.1 per cent better than the March 2022 quarter. That also meant a continued march upward for rents, with the region’s median rental cost now an eye-watering $575 a week, up 7.5 per cent on the previous three-month figure. “The rental market still very tight, though in Dunsborough it’s easing just a touch with new houses being completed,” Mr White said. “Still struggling with home completions and still struggling for rental supply — not enough investment activity, though ‘not enough houses in total’ remains the huge issue, and not enough builders to build them.” Stocker-Preston property consultant Mark Murray acknowledged the tightening trend, but said despite a slowdown in listings, there remained a strong demand for local homes. The latest PropTrack industry reported added weight to the view the boom was starting to peter out, contributing to the woes of renters. In regional WA, the rental market was tight, with new listings down 19.4 per cent in April, overall 4.1 per cent lower than the same time last year. This pushed the total number of rental listings in regional WA down 12.6 per cent month-on-month and 3.2 per cent below April 2022 levels. With fewer new listings coming to market, the number of total rental listings declined 10.4% month-on-month. Total rental listings were down 19.2 per cent year-on-year and 52.8 per cent below pre-pandemic levels in March 2020. Without an imminent increase in supply, the stock of rental properties will remain low, exacerbating the competitive conditions renters currently face.