Housing market cooling in Sydney and Melbourne, latest index data shows

House price growth in Australian capital cities moderated in March with market conditions slowing in Sydney and Melbourne, according to the latest index.

The remaining capital cities recorded a range of outcomes from small value increases to moderate declines, the data from the CoreLogic RP index shows.

Overall prices increased by 0.2% to take capital city home values 1.6% higher over the first quarter of 2016. The quarterly increase in home values was broad based across the nation’s capitals, with Perth seeing a fall of 0.9% and Brisbane a fall of 0.1%. They were the only two cities to record negative movements in dwelling values over the past three months.

‘The March quarter rise in capital city dwelling values is in stark contrast to the first quarter of 2015, when values increased by 3% which is almost double the current pace of quarterly growth,’ said CoreLogic RP Data head of research Tim Lawless.

‘However, compared with the final quarter of 2015 when capital city dwelling values were down 1.4% the housing market has shown a modest rebound in growth which is well below the strong capital gains recorded over the first half of 2015,’ he explained.

But he added that the annual pace of home value appreciation across Australia’s capital cities highlights the slowing growth trend and year on year growth across the capital cities has now reached its lowest point in 31 months, with values up by 6.4% over the past 12 months.

Furthermore, no Australian capital city has recorded an annual growth rate in the double digits over the past year. Melbourne has seen the strongest annual growth, with values up by 9.8% over the past 12 months.

‘The housing market has been losing momentum since July last year, when capital city dwelling values were increasing at the annual rate of 11.1%,’ Lawless pointed out.

Overall the median price across the capital cities is now $550,000, a rise of 0.2% month on month, up 1.6% quarter on quarter and 6.4% year on year.

A breakdown of the data shows that the median price in Sydney is $730,000, up 1% month on month, 2% quarter on quarter and 7.4% year on year while in Melbourne it is $560,000, down 0.6% month on month, up 2.2% quarter on quarter and 9.8% year on year.

In Brisbane the median price is $470,000, down 1.2% on a monthly basis, down 0.1% quarter on quarter but up 4.5% year on year while in Adelaide the median is $415,000 with a 0.5% monthly rise, 2.4% growth quarter on quarter and up 3.2% year on year.

In Perth the market is actually recovering with a median price of $495,000 which is up 1.2% month on month but down 0.9% quarter on quarter and own 2% year on year with Darwin seeing a similar picture with a median price of $505,000 which is up 2.1% month on month and 2.4% quarter on quarter but down 1.8% year on year.

In Hobart the median price is $341,500, a fall of 1.1% month on month but up 6.5% on a quarterly basis and up 4.8% year on year and in Canberra the median price of $540,000 is down 0.8% month on month, but up 1.8% quarter on quarter and up 1.7% year on year.

The current growth cycle has been running since values bottomed in May 2012. Through to March 2016, capital city dwelling values have risen by a cumulative 32.2%.

The index also shows that over the cycle to date, Sydney home values have seen the most significant level of appreciation with prices some 49.2% higher since values started rising, followed by Melbourne at 35.7% cumulative growth.

Darwin and Perth moved through their respective cyclical market peaks more than a year ago, with Darwin home values peaking in May 2014, whilst Perth’s housing market peaked in December 2014. Since then, both Darwin and Perth home values have fallen by a total of 4.6%.