Property prices steady in most Australian capital cities with Perth seeing recovery

Residential property prices in capital cities in Australia fell by 0.1% in November, offsetting a rise of 0.2% the previous month, the latest national real estate index shows.

A significant contributor to the downwards movement over the month came from the Sydney housing market where values fell by 0.7%, while prices fell by 0.4% in both Darwin and the whole of the Northern Territory.

Prices in Sydney are also down by 1.3% quarter on quarter to $904,041 but are still up 5% compared to November 2016. While in Darwin they are down 2.7% month on month and down 5.5% on an annual basis to $432,774.

The CoreLogic index shows that elsewhere prices edged up month on month and only Perth has values down year on year. In Perth prices were up 0.2% on a monthly basis, and up 0.3% on a quarterly basis but still 2.6% lower than a year ago at $463,026. But the figures suggest the Perth market is starting to recover.

Prices increased by 0.6% month on month in Hobart to $398,093 and are up 3.3% quarter on quarter and up 17.1% year on year. They increased by 0.5% in Melbourne on a monthly basis, by 0.6% on a quarterly basis and are 10.1% higher than a year ago at $718,325.

In the rest of the capital cities month on month price growth was more muted, up by 0.9% in Canberra where values are 1.3% higher on a quarterly basis and 5.8% year on year to $588,788 while in Brisbane they are up 0.1%, 0.6% and 2.4% to $490,915. Month on month prices were flat in Adelaide, up 0.1% month on month and 3.4% year on year to $432,126.

CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless pointed out that national prices have increased by 0.2% over the past three months and by 5.2% over the last 12 months but the annual growth rate has now halved since reaching a peak of 10.4% in May 2017.

‘The diversity in capital city housing market conditions is highlighted by the rolling quarterly change in dwelling values, which range from a 3.3% rise in Hobart, to a 2.7% decline in Darwin, but together these two cities account for less than 1.5% of total housing stock in Australia, and they have had little effect on the overall headline figures,’ said Lawless.

‘On the other hand, softer housing market conditions across Sydney, which comprises roughly one fifth of national dwelling stock and approximately one third by value, has a material influence over the headline growth trends,’ he added.

The index report explains that the Sydney housing market moved through a recent peak in July 2017 and dwelling values have been trending lower each month since that time. Values were down 0.7% in November to be 1.3% lower relative to the market peak. Sydney’s 1.3% fall over the past three months is the greatest decline over a three month period since March 2016. While the rate of value decline in Sydney has gathered some momentum, it remains extremely modest.

Lawless believes there is mounting evidence that the Perth housing market may finally have bottomed out. Prices across Perth have edged higher over each of the past three months to record the first rolling quarterly capital gain since late 2014. The three months to November saw Perth values rise by 0.3%.

In addition to values moving off their low base, sales are rising, up 3.8% year on year, homes are selling faster at 59 days compared with 68 days a year ago and advertised stock levels have reduced, down some 12.7% compared with last year.

‘If this is indeed the start of a recovery phase in the Perth housing market, it comes after dwelling values have fallen 10.8% since peaking in the middle of 2014,’ Lawless added.