It's no secret Illawarra house prices have been on the decline for some time. But record low interest rates have left many wondering if property values will continue to slide or whether they will help in bringing them back up.
One real estate expert is optimistic about the coming six months, while another said price rises won't happen until the new year.
According to CoreLogic's latest data on home values, the region has suffered heavily over the past 12 months with prices dropping 10.8 per cent in that time. This figure is more than Sydney's eastern suburbs (at 10.7 per cent), and puts the region in the top ten worst performing regional areas in the country.
CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher said the Illawarra has experienced substantial falls due to the region following Sydney's growth but also following that market down.
"We're seeing it in Newcaslte/Lake Maquarie region as well, we're seeing it in the southern highlands and Shoalhaven regions," Mr Kusher said. "So all those areas kind of touching Sydney are seeing pretty weak housing market conditions."
This isn't the case for areas touching Melbourne - another capital city which has seen massive declines in recent times - nor for other areas in NSW. He said some of the best performing NSW regions were Wagga Wagga, the Lachlan Valley, Clarence Valley and Armidale.
Mr Kusher said prices in Sydney and the Illawarra were expected to drop further in coming months with moderate growth in the new year, though there would be no booming prices as seen in recent times.
"If we look at Sydney we expect the market's going to bottom late this year and we expect Wollongong would see a similar case," he said.
"In terms of prices going up, you might see some very moderate growth in next 12 months.
"But our expectation is - yes we've had some interest rate cuts, yes it's a little bit easier to get a mortgage - but it's still going to be quite difficult compared to how it's been historically.
"Housing affordability is still very stretched, prices are still much higher than they were five years."
Meantime, deputy chair of the Real Estate Institute Illawarra, Jake Mackenzie, was more hopeful for property prices to pick up in the later half of 2019.
"It's going to be slow, it's not going to be ripping ahead as it has in the past few years," he said.
"It's going to be steady because people are still a little bit wary ... but I think towards the end of this year we will see prices go up and definitely into the following year they'll continue to increase."
Mr Mackenzie, also an auctioneer, and has seen auction rates and sales pick up in recent weeks.
On June 1 he called a "marathon auction" at a Corrimal home on Thomas Street which saw nine registered bidders and resulted in 60 bids in total - pushing the final sale price well above reserve.