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Property prices in Australian capital cities still falling

Prices fell in all eight cities surveyed. The biggest declines were in Brisbane at 2.5%, and the smallest was in Sydney at 0.2%. Perth house prices declined by 1.3%, Adelaide fell by 0.9%, Canberra fell by 2%, Hobart fell by 1% and Darwin fell by 0.4%.

Year on year, preliminary estimates show that the price index for established houses for the weighted average of the eight capital cities decreased 2.2%. Darwin was down 4.4%, Perth 4.2%, Adelaide 3.2%, Canberra 2.2%, Melbourne 2.1%, Sydney 0.3% and Hobart 0.3%.

In the year to September, the index fell 2.2%, more than the 1.5% that economists had forecast.

The latest index from property analysts RP Data-Rismark also shows prices falling, at a seasonally adjusted 0.2% in October compared with September. It brings the fall in prices over the first nine months of the year to 3.6%.

After sidestepping much of the global housing price weakness seen in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, rising cost of living issues at home and the impact of a surging dollar on foreign appetite have pushed values down for much of the year.

Sydney, which had performed much better than the rest of the country so far in 2011, lead the declines with a 0.6% fall in September.

Brisbane, besieged by floods earlier in the year, saw prices rise 0.4% in the month to lead the survey, though prices in that city remain down 6.1% for 2011.

Also the latest figures from the Housing Industry Association show that new house sales fell in September, reaching their lowest monthly level in more than a decade.

Sales of new houses, excluding apartments and town houses, fell by 3.3% taking them to the lowest level since December 2000, with about 5,000 houses changing hands. Sales of new apartments and town houses dropped 5.5%.