House prices rebound, but 'mixed outcomes' ahead

by Adam Smith25 Jan 2012

National house prices have seen their first turnaround since September 2010, but a property analyst has predicted 2012 to be a year of "mixed outcomes".

The latest Australian Property Monitors house price report has shown the first rise in median house prices in more than a year. National house prices saw a marginal increase in the December quarter following five consecutive quarterly declines.

The rise was driven by activity in the Sydney and Melbourne markets. APM senior economist Andrew Wilson said rises in the cities reflected two very different market segments.

"The small growth in the national median house prices was due to an increase in buyer activity in the bottom end of the market in Sydney and, by contrast, the top end of the market in Melbourne," Wilson said.

Some of Sydney's activity could be put down to sales first homebuyer sales brought forward to beat the December 31 changes to stamp duty concessions. Nevertheless, Wilson said the result was significant as it signalled an end to the trend of price falls over the last year.

"[There is] the realistic potential for a sustained turn-around in some markets," Wilson said.

In spite of Wilson's optimism, he warned that the market could yield mixed results in 2012, with some capital cities seeing a return to growth and others remaining flat.