Capital house prices on the up

by AB12 Jun 2014
Australian house prices have increased over the last quarter and a housing industry association president is pleased some impediments to market growth have recently been removed.
The Bendigo Bank/REIA Real Estate Market Facts report for the March quarter recorded an increase in the median price for Australian residential property.
The weighted average capital city median price rose 1.9% for houses and 1.7% for other dwellings.
“The Australian weighted average median house price is now $606,500 or 13.1% higher when compared with the March quarter 2013,” Bendigo and Adelaide Bank retail executive Dennis Bice said.
This price is up from $598,044 in the December quarter.
The quarterly Australian weighted average for other dwellings median price is $483,320.
With the exception of Brisbane and Perth, all capitals contributed to the rise.
Hobart had the largest quarterly rise across the capitals, up by 4.1% to $385,000. However, this is still the lowest median house price across Australian capital cities – 36.5% lower than the national average.
The median house price in Melbourne rose over the quarter by 3.7% to $652,500, an increase in the rolling annual median house price of 13.7%. 
Sydney followed with an increase of 3.1% over the March quarter to $782,973, 16.9% higher than the figure for the same time last year.  Sydney’s median house price remains the highest among the capitals.
Brisbane’s median house price fell 1.1% to $460,000, but still recorded an increase of 4.8% when compared to the same quarter in 2013.
The median house price for Perth fell 1.6% over the quarter to $540,000. However, year on year, the figure for Perth represents a 4.9% increase. 
Adelaide and Darwin recorded increases of 0.9% and 1.6% respectively.
REIA president Peter Bushby expected interest rates to remain low in the medium to long term, creating less need for intervention to boost housing activity.
“As the government’s cost cutting flows through to household sentiment and the overall economy, the need for the Reserve Bank of Australia to raise interest rates will be minimal and that’s an upside for mortgage holders.”
He said REIA was pleased to see the Federal Budget contained no change to negative gearing in its current form for the purpose of property investment.
“For Australia’s 1.9 million property investors, that brings a big sigh of relief. REIA will… continue to fight for the retention of negative gearing.”
However, REIA had been “particularly vocal” in its call to abolish the “inefficient” stamp duty tax, Bushby said.
The Productivity Commission, in its final report on labour mobility, said stamp duty is a major impediment to mobility and constrains economic growth.