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Property prices in Australian cities holding steady and up almost 8% year on year

Overall values increased over the past month across every capital city except Canberra where values showed a 1.5% drop over the month, according to the CoreLogic RP home value index.

CoreLogic RP Data head of research, Tim Lawless, said that despite the slower month on month reading, the annual rate of growth has seen a slight rebound, with dwelling values now 7.9% higher over the past 12 months across the combined capital city index.

‘Annually, the rate of capital gain has slowed since April last year, however, since the February rate cut the Sydney and, to a lesser extent, Melbourne housing markets have caught a second wind which is reflected in the higher rate of capital gain as well as the very strong auction results and rapid rate of sale for properties sold via private treaty,’ he explained.

‘Despite the slight annual rate of growth upswing, capital gains remain lower than their annual peak recorded in April last year when dwelling values were rising at the rate of 11.5% per annum across the combined capitals index,’ he added.

According to the April results, capital city dwelling values have been trending higher over the past 35 months, recording a cumulative increase of 25.3% between the end of May 2012 and April 2015.

‘While the combined capitals trend of dwelling value growth has been substantial, the rate of growth across the Sydney housing market stands head and shoulders above the other capital cities over the cycle to date,’ said Lawless.

He pointed out that Sydney dwelling values are now 40.2% higher relative to the May 2012 trough. ‘If you factor in the previous 2009/2010 phase of growth, Sydney values are now up 65.4% after the global financial crisis,’ he added.

A breakdown of the figures show that Melbourne is the only other capital city that comes close to this measure where dwelling values are 52.3% higher post GFC. The next highest rate of growth is Darwin where values have moved 26.5% higher, followed by Canberra at 19.8%, Perth at 15.2%, Adelaide at 12.2%, Brisbane at 8% and Hobart at 1.2%.

‘While the headline growth figures remain strong it is clear that some markets are winding down. The rate of growth in Perth and Darwin has slowed substantially in line with the wind down of major infrastructure projects associated with the resources sector and the housing market in Canberra has also softened post federal election,’ Lawless said.

The performance of houses versus apartments has shown some interesting trends of late. Detached homes are continuing to outperform the multi-unit sector, with capital city house values up 8.3% over the past year while unit values have risen by a lower 5.6%.

This trend is more noticeable in the key growth markets of Sydney and Melbourne. Sydney house values are up 15.5% over the past year while unit values have risen by 9.7%. The over performance of houses compared with units is more apparent in Melbourne where house values are 7.6% higher over the year compared with a growth rate of just 1.9% across the unit market. A similar trend is evident across most of the capital cities and can likely be attributed to the higher supply levels in the apartment markets which are keeping a lid on the rate of capital gain.

Rental markets haven’t seen much improvement from their sluggish pace of growth. Over the past 12 months weekly rents have increased by 1.7% across the capital cities, with weekly rents falling in Perth, Canberra and Darwin over the past year. The highest rental growth can be found in Sydney, where weekly rents are 3.3% higher over the year.