City prices consolidate with steady quarter

by Mackenzie McCarty25 Oct 2012

Australian Property Monitors claims city housing markets are edging their way through a tentative recovery following the release of steady national house price data for September.

The property research firm claims Sydney, Perth and Darwin have been at the forefront of house price growth in recent times, with year-on-year price growth of 1%, 1.3% and 3% respectively.

However, Sydney and Perth went backwards during the September quarter, with the median house price in Sydney now at $635,306 (-0.4%), while Perth has a $530,214 median house price (-0.5%).

APM senior economist Andrew Wilson said September data shows the Brisbane market may have reached its bottom, after a year-on-year price reduction of 1.2% to $436,015.

"Brisbane median house prices were steady over the September quarter, which is encouraging as it ends a sequence of eight consecutive quarters of price falls," Wilson said. This is a positive indication the market may have finally bottomed out, though prices are still down over the year."

Meanwhile, APM found that Melbourne unit prices continued to fall, down 1.4% in the September quarter or 6.1% year-on-year.

Wilson said that the performance of city markets for the remainder of 2012 will depend on local economic factors.

"Although falling interest rates have improved housing affordability and buyer confidence, market growth has been driven largely by other local factors, including changes to buyer incentives, population growth, and value-buying momentum in some prestige markets," he said.

"Given a reasonable economic performance over the remainder of 2012, housing markets will continue to generally find their feet, albeit at varying levels of activity."

APM predicts Sydney, Perth, Darwin and Canberra will record increased growth, Melbourne will remain steady, and Brisbane's outlook would depend on unemployment. Adelaide is expected to track sideways, with no indication Hobart will see sustained house price growth.