Since October last year, Australia’s national property prices have fallen. Just in March this year noted fall is 0.6 percent, and according to property data firm CoreLogic, the national median dwelling value – which includes both apartments and free-standing homes – is now $524,149, down 6.9 percent over the last 12 months.
Despite dropping values over the last quarter, Sydney remains the most expensive city to buy property in with a median price of $782,473 while the only capital city which saw average dwelling prices rise in the last three months (up 1.2 percent) — and are at record-highs of $464,168 is Hobart.
The sharpest falls in the value of dwellings — which include houses and apartments — were seen in Darwin (-3.9pc), Melbourne (-3.4pc), and Perth (-2.9pc) over the past quarter. Brisbane (-1.1pc) and Adelaide (-0.5pc) values recorded smaller declines, while Canberra was flat.
On a national basis, the average house price fell 2.4 percent to $540,676, and apartment prices dropped 2.2 percent to $484,552 during that period. Melbourne came in at a close second – dropping 3.4 percent over the last three months – with a median dwelling value of $624,425. Values in Canberra remained flat, ignoring an increase or a decrease to register a median value of $595,212. Brisbane fell 1.1 percent ($489,832), Perth fell 2.9 percent ($442,716) while Adelaide remained relatively flat with just a 0.5 percent fall ($426,990).
CoreLogic’s head of research Tim Lawless said the upside of an easing property market is that more buyers are finding their way into home ownership.
“While the pace of falls has slowed in March, the scope of the downturn has become more geographically widespread. The silver lining here is that housing now very affordable and first home buyers are proportionally much more active relative to other areas of the country.” Mr. Lawless said.
Country’s most expensive markets household wages remain high compared to the rest of Australia, explained Mr. Lawless, meaning more people are able to buy cheaper properties in those markets.
“Despite Sydney and Melbourne housing values falling, overall dwelling values relative to household incomes remain substantially higher than other cities, which could be another factor in skewing credit availability towards the middle to lower end of the market,” he said adding that overall, he believes property prices will continue in their current downturn as the country lurches towards another federal election.
“Although this is a positive development, the outlook for the housing market will continue to be affected by uncertainty related to the federal election, lending policies and more broadly, domestic economic conditions,” Mr. Lawless said mentioning that Federal elections generally cause some uncertainty, which is likely amplified more so this time around considering the potential for a change of government which will also involve significant changes to taxation policies related to investment.
“No doubt, some prospective buyers and sellers are delaying their housing decisions until after the election, however, there is no guarantee that certainty will improve post-elections, considering the impact of wind back to negative gearing and halving of the capital gains tax concession is largely unknown.” Mr. Lawless said.