Property prices falling in capital cities in Australia but Hobart bucks the trend

Property prices in Australia were largely unchanged in March, flat nationally, down 0.5% quarter on quarter and up 1.2% year on year to a median value of $553,693, the latest index shows.

Capital cities are seeing price growth falling, down 0.2% month on month in March, down 0.9% on a quarterly basis and just 0.8% higher than a year ago at median value of $655,630, according to the latest data from CoreLogic.

The regional market has been outperforming the cities with prices up 0.4% month on month, up 1.1% quarter on quarter and up 2.6% year on year to a median value of $363,087, the data also shows.

‘The stronger combined regional markets performance continues a trend that began to emerge in October last year where regional housing markets showed an overall improvement in the pace of capital gains while the combined capitals trend softened,’ said CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless.

A breakdown of the data shows that six of the eight capital cities covered by the index have seen prices fall in the first quarter of 2018, led by a fall of 1.7% in Sydney, with prices in Melbourne down 0.5%, in Adelaide down 0.4% while Perth and Canberra saw prices fall by 0.2% and Darwin a fall of 0.2%.

Prices increased quarter on quarter on Hobart by 3.4%, taking the median value to $423,468 while in Brisbane prices were unchanged on a quarterly basis at $491,806.

Month on month prices fell in three capital cities, down 0.3% in Sydney and Adelaide and down by 0.2% in Melbourne. On a monthly basis prices increased by 1.7% in Hobart, by 1% in Darwin, by 0.3% in Perth, by 0.2% in Canberra and by 0.1% in Brisbane.

On an annual basis price growth was strongest in Hobart with a rise of 13% while in Darwin prices are down 7.5% compared with March 2017. Prices also fell on an annual basis by 2.4% in Perth and by 2.1% in Sydney.

Year on year prices increased by 5.3% in Melbourne, by 2.9% in Canberra, by 1.7% in Adelaide, and by 1.3% in Brisbane.

‘The broad based falls highlight that the softening trend in the Australian housing market is largely due to weaker conditions in Sydney, however, most other capitals are also recording subtle falls. Dwelling values were steady over the quarter in Brisbane and have continued their strong run of growth across Hobart, up 3.4%,’ said Lawless.

He pointed out that the unit sector across Sydney and Melbourne has shown stronger conditions relative to detached housing. ‘The March home value indices results also confirm that the unit sector is now consistently outperforming the detached housing market, a trend which has been evident since the middle of 2017,’ he explained.

He also pointed out that more significant differences between houses and units can be seen in Sydney and Melbourne where housing affordability pressures are more evident relative to other cities. Sydney unit values are up 1.9% over the past 12 months, while house values are down 3.8%. Similarly in Melbourne, unit values are 6.6% higher over the past 12 months while house values are up just 4.9%.

‘The stronger performance from the unit sector may suggest that buyer demand is becoming more concentrated in the medium to high density sector where entry prices are lower and commuting times are often more convenient when compared with the detached housing markets around the outer fringes of the city,’ Lawless added.