Median house prices have seen their first quarterly rise in 20 months, and the result has prompted analysts to theorise the market could be stabilising.
Australian Property Monitors data shows median values crept up 0.9% for houses and 0.1% for units, the first increase since June 2010. Every capital city apart from Brisbane and Adelaide saw increases over the quarter, with Darwin recording 6% for the quarter. Melbourne and Sydney were the next-best performers, with prices rising 1.4% and 1.6%, respectively.
APM senior economist Andrew Wilson said the future for house price growth would hinge on the performance of national and local economies in the months to come. Nevertheless, he was optimistic about the prospects for some capital city markets.
“The Perth, Brisbane and Sydney markets remain the best prospects for growth over 2012, and although the Melbourne market has been encouraging so far this year, this may prove to be short- lived if the Victorian economic performance continues to deteriorate,” he said.
Wilson predicted that the market would continue to improve on the back of the quarterly rise, with buyers and vendors becoming less wary about the future of the economy.
“Early signs are certainly positive for most Australian housing markets in 2012 with the likelihood that buyer and seller confidence will continue to rise in 2012 after a subdued 2011,” he said.
But despite the quarterly rally, the market remains down in most cities year-on-year. House prices fell in every capital city on an annualized basis. Brisbane has seen the most marked decline, falling 4.1%, while Adelaide followed with a 3.9% decline. Unit prices proved volatile as well, with only Sydney and Hobart escaping a year-on-year decline.
Sydney retained its place as Australia’s most expensive capital city, with a median house price of $641,037. Darwin rated the second most expensive capital with a median house price of $628,552. Brisbane, by contrast, was mainland Australia’s most affordable capital, with a median price of $433,244.